Take control of your online presence

Establishing, protecting and managing an online presence is now crucial in the medical industry.The availability of jobs as well as online health information combined with social media channels like Twitter and Facebook has created a new generation of patients - thus they are empowered - no one can afford to leave their online presence to chance.

It is important for anyone in the medical profession to Google themselves at least once a week and see what comes up, because this is  what an employer could do - as well as patients.  If information is inaccurate or negative - this will create a bad first impression.

An online reputation is just as important as a reputation in the community
All the information that can be found about you on the internet is referred to as your 'online presence'. Increasingly this information comes from your profiles on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It also includes photographs of you and anything that you have written or has been written about you. This may be on blogs, forum posts and wikis.

Don't assume your prospective employers won't Google your name, even if this is not an official part of the selection process. When they do, if the first result is a photo of you half-dressed and falling into a hedge on your birthday, that doesn't immediately convey a measured attitude to life and you're unlikely to get that dream job in risk management. Untag yourself in any potentially compromising photos on Facebook and use their 'View As' function to see how your profile looks to the public. Facebook is known for its frequent alteration of privacy settings, so make sure you check your profile often.

If you've applied for a job where you will be expected to communicate with clients, patients or potential customers, it's quite likely that someone from the company will search for you on Twitter. If they scroll through your timeline and your tweets are all in capitals and are mainly sweary, emoticon-ridden rants at judges on The X Factor, they may no longer see you as the composed, well-educated person your CV conveys.

LinkedIn is arguably more difficult to make mistakes with as its purpose is to convert you into an ever-professional living CV. However, just because your photo is in focus and you're not posting offensive updates about previous employers, don't assume you're a LinkedIn success. If the employment history on your LinkedIn profile is different to that on the CV you've been emailing to recruiters or potential employers, it looks suspicious. Poor spelling and grammar, and few connections or endorsements can also create a negative impression. Before you apply for that job, Google yourself and see what comes up.