Wayne Denner attended South West College last week to talk to students about what he believes everyone needs to be thinking about if they intend to get a job in the future: online reputation. Denner, a speaker, Author and expert on Online Reputation & Wellbeing, spoke to the students in Omagh about how they can use the internet and social media to gain opportunities.
Wayne pulled no punches in explaining that a damaged online reputation can make it difficult to find employment, and preached a message of ‘don’t let what you post in the past come back to haunt you in the future’. Sharing a number of examples of how people have lost jobs due to posting things online, he said, ‘Use social media, but use it to your advantage and use it wisely.’
Wayne, who originally failed his GCSE’s before attending his local college, has developed an app which scans your social media and gives you a score similar to that of a credit score, with a high score suggesting you have posted something negative. For a small price, the equivalent of a cup of coffee, app users can upgrade the app and use it to delete the negative features of their social media profiles. The app is a useful way to avoid social media pitfalls; as Wayne says, ‘you are the greatest threat to your social media.’
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Wayne’s talk was certainly relevant to students and those looking to gain employment in the near future. 93% of employers use social media to screen their applicants, and 67% will remove applicants from the application process if they discover something negative in their profiles. Wayne was quick to explain that staying offline completely should not be seen as a quick-fix solution to this, as employers also view your online reputation as a chance to get a positive impression of applicants.
Dealing with what is online is often difficult; Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has even acknowledged in the past that he wishes the internet had a delete button. “The lack of a delete button on the Internet is a significant issue. There is a time when an erasure is the right thing.” The fact that there is no delete button, and the manner in which online reputation is like online currency nowadays, means that the onus is on individuals to ensure that what they put out there is positive.
Wayne has appeared on television on ITV, CNN and Sky News, and contributes regularly to Radio One, but he says ‘it’s not because I’m clever, I’m just doing what other people aren’t, using social media to my advantage and therefore gaining opportunities because of it.’
So how can we all learn to do this? Well, again, Wayne insists it isn’t anything overly complicated. ‘You have to ask yourself, how can I be an influence in my sector, in my area of choice? How can I gain a positive online reputation? Businesses and companies take reputation very seriously, and it’s time for you guys to do the same.’ Finally he says it’s important to have a plan. ‘It’s a competitive world out there, so you have to be doing everything to have the best chance possible, and a digital CV has become a huge part of that. Everything you do on social media contributes to your digital CV, whether it’s positive or negative is up to you.’