Improve Career Opportunities for Your College Grad With These Simple Reputation Management Techniques

Reputation Defender
13 min readJun 1, 2023

As a parent of a college student, you know that the job market is competitive. Having a four-year degree is important.

But, with U.S. job openings recently falling by 1.3 million, things aren’t getting any easier.

One way to improve your grad’s career opportunities is to help him or her build a strong personal brand.

To crystalize this a bit more, did you know that 67% of employers check potential candidates’ social media profiles? If they’re interested, recruiters are combing through every detail of that profile.

So, if students are not paying attention to the image they’re projecting online — four years of education could lose some of its value.

That’s why Investing in effective reputation management techniques can make all the difference for your soon-to-be graduate.

In this blog post, we’ll explore game-changing strategies to help young professionals expand their career opportunities by polishing their online presence and standing out from the crowd.

Key Takeaways

· 67% of employers use social media to find good talent, making online reputation management crucial for college graduates looking to secure employment.

· Cleaning up their social media presence, optimizing their LinkedIn profiles, and creating personal websites or portfolios can help graduates build a strong personal brand story that can create more career opportunities.

· Tools like Google Alerts and ReputationDefender can help individuals monitor and manage their online reputations effectively.

· College graduates and students must be mindful of what they post on their social media accounts since what they do and say online can influence employers’ decisions in the hiring process.

The Importance of Reputation Management for College Students & Grads

College students should prioritize online reputation management and social media management just as much as they prioritize graduating from school.

That’s because social media plays a significant role in job offers, and their personal brand directly affects their career success.

The Role of Social Media in Job Offers

The role of social media in job offers cannot be overstated, as employers are relying on applicants’ online presence to make hiring decisions.

For instance, an employer may come across a candidate’s creative work shared on Instagram or thoughtful discussions the candidate contributed to in LinkedIn groups.

These insights can provide valuable information about the applicant’s personality, communication style, and even soft skills such as adaptability and teamwork.

However, sharing inappropriate content or engaging in unprofessional behavior online might raise red flags for potential employers who might view these actions as indicative of poor decision-making abilities or a lack of good judgment.

How Online Reputation Affects Job Opportunities

A college graduate’s online reputation can significantly impact his or her job opportunities and overall career trajectory. With the prevalence of social media, it has become easier for employers to access information about potential hires.

In fact, as of March of this year, 56% of hiring managers find the best candidates through social media according to this recent study. So, what a candidate shares online directly influences their decision-making process more than half of the time.

It’s common for hiring managers to explore social media profiles, blog posts, or other content shared on various platforms while considering a candidate’s qualifications.

In some instances, employers may even decide to reject an applicant based solely on their online reputation.

It happens more than you might think, and it is becoming something more young professionals should pay attention to when looking for work.

On the other hand, think about when a recruiter uncovers information supporting an individual’s skills and credentials during background checks.

This can turn the tables (so to speak) and make a candidate more memorable.

The Impact of Personal Branding on Career Success

Personal branding plays a pivotal role in determining career success for college graduates, shaping how they are perceived by potential employers and colleagues.

By cultivating a unique and authentic personal brand, job seekers can effectively communicate their value to prospective employers, making them more likely to stand out among the competition.

For example, college graduates who are passionate about environmental sustainability might collaborate on projects or volunteer with organizations that focus on green initiatives during their studies.

By including these experiences in their personal branding efforts — such as optimizing LinkedIn profiles or creating personal websites — they demonstrate dedication towards this cause to future employers.

In doing so, graduates can increase their chances of landing career opportunities aligned with their values and expertise while simultaneously demonstrating employability through proactive engagement within their industry of choice.

Techniques for Building a Strong Personal Brand

There are several sources online discussing how to do this. But many are lacking depth in showing you how this works for your graduate.

Below, you’ll discover the best practices when assisting your young professional in cleaning up his or her social media presence.

We also touch on:

● Optimizing your child’s LinkedIn profile

● Creating a personal website or portfolio

● How to network effectively

Plus, we’ll go over how to develop a compelling personal brand story. This is what we mean when we say “game-changing reputation management techniques.”

Cleaning Up a Social Media Presence

You know the truth: First impressions matter. They always have, and they always will.

Social media makes it easier for employers to get a peek into our personal lives. Here are ways you parents can help your young adult clean up their social media presence.

Have them:

1. Delete or untag inappropriate posts, comments, and photos that are not in line with your college graduate’s career goals.

2. Set privacy settings on all accounts to control who sees what your child posts.

3. Review every profile picture and cover photo on his or her social media accounts to ensure they present your graduate in a professional manner.

4. Unfollow or unfriend people who constantly post offensive content that could reflect poorly on your child’s personal brand.

5. Use tools like HootSuite and ReputationDefender to get help with social media, personal branding, website creation, and controlling search results with tailored content on online profiles and blogs.

It is essential for college graduates to make sure their online presence represents them well professionally. Ensuring that their social media presence is clean will go a long way toward creating limitless career opportunities down the line.

How to Optimize Their LinkedIn Profile

If your college grad wants to build a strong personal brand, LinkedIn is the right platform on which to do so. 90% of recruiters look to LinkedIn to fill a position.

Here are 10 tips for optimizing your graduate’s LinkedIn profile:

1. Use a professional headshot — A good headshot can make a positive first impression and increase profile views.

2. Write a compelling headline — Use keywords that align with your child’s personal brand and featured skills and endorsements.

3. Craft an engaging summary — This is where your graduate can tell his or her professional story, highlight achievements, and showcase skills.

4. Feature relevant experience — Include details about past work experiences that demonstrate proficiency in specific areas.

5. Highlight education — List all relevant degrees, certificates, or training programs completed.

6. Leverage multimedia content — Add photos, videos, or other media that support your child’s qualifications.

7. Get endorsements and recommendations — These can boost credibility with potential employers.

8. Use hashtags to increase visibility — Strategically using hashtags can make your graduate’s content more discoverable by others with similar interests and goals.

9. Join industry-specific groups — Participating in LinkedIn groups is an excellent way to connect with professionals in your child’s field and expand his or her network.

10. Continuously update his or her profile — Regularly adding new experiences or skills helps keep the profile relevant and up to date.

Incorporating these tips into their LinkedIn profile will provide college grads with a solid foundation for building their personal brand and landing job opportunities in the future.

Create a Personal Website or Portfolio

One of the best ways to impress recruiters and showcase your child’s skills is by creating a personal website or portfolio that speaks directly to them about who and what your young professional wants to become.

A website and a LinkedIn profile can be the one-two punch, so to speak.

This personal branding website can be the online hub that performs as a digital resume, highlighting your graduate’s projects, accomplishments, and experience in an organized and visually appealing way.

By including samples of your child’s work or testimonials from previous employers, you can help provide concrete proof of the abilities that will make him or her stand out from other candidates.

Moreover, having a professional-looking website shows that your child takes his or her career seriously and is willing to invest time and effort into it.

With free tools like WordPress or Wix available, graduates can create their own website without needing extensive coding knowledge — it’s accessible for everyone looking to boost their reputation online.

Not only does having a personal website increase their chances of getting hired, but it also opens up new opportunities for entrepreneurship. But that’s out of the scope of this post.

Network Effectively

To successfully build a strong personal brand, encourage your college grad to attend social events and professional conferences in his or her industry.

Volunteering for local organizations or joining clubs can also provide opportunities for networking.

It’s important for your child to make genuine connections rather than just accumulating contacts. Building relationships based on common interests or shared experiences will make it easier for him or her to ask for advice or help in the future.

Remember that networking isn’t just about getting a job, it’s also about building long-term relationships that can benefit your child’s career growth over time.

Develop a Personal Brand Story

One of the most important aspects of building a strong personal brand is developing a compelling brand story.

This should be an authentic and memorable narrative that communicates who your child is, what he or she stands for, and why he or she is unique.

To develop a personal brand story effectively, your child should start by identifying his or her core values, passions, and strengths.

Graduates should then consider how these traits have shaped their experiences and career goals.

For example, if they’re passionate about sustainability, they should consider creating a personal tagline like “dedicated environmental steward with expertise in sustainable business practices.”

This will not only showcase their skills, but it will also communicate their values to prospective employers who share those same principles.

Psychologically, it can also help them live their truth and make decisions that guide them to that end tagline.

Tools and Resources for Effective Reputation Management

To help your graduate effectively manage their online reputation, there are some amazing tools and resources available, including Google Alerts, ReputationDefender, Buffer, Hootsuite, and LinkedIn Learning.

These tools can offer your child valuable insights into what people are saying about them or their brand online and monitor the content that appears in their search results.

Google Alerts

One important tool for effective online reputation management is Google Alerts.

By setting up and customizing alerts, individuals can monitor what is being said or written about them online in real time.

This allows your child to stay ahead of any potential issues that may arise and respond accordingly to protect his or her personal brand.

For example, let’s say a college graduate applies for a job and the hiring manager decides to do a quick search on the person’s name before making an offer.

If negative information appears in the search results, this could significantly decrease the applicant’s chances of getting hired.

However, with Google Alerts set up, the individual would receive immediate notification if such negative comments are posted online and could take action to address them promptly.


ReputationDefender is an online reputation management company that offers tools and resources for effective reputation management.

Founded by Michael Fertik (credited with pioneering the field of online reputation management) over 15 years ago, ReputationDefender believes that people and businesses have the right to control and protect their online reputations and privacy.

The company helps individuals, college students, executives, and small business owners clean up their social media presence and develop strategic content to build a strong personal brand.

They also enable clients to control what comes up in search results when people search for them online.

With the help of ReputationDefender and other tools like Google Alerts, individuals like college students and job seekers can monitor what’s being said about them online and take action to improve their online image.


Buffer is a powerful tool for managing your child’s social media presence and ensuring that he or she is always putting his or her best foot forward on the internet.

With Buffer, your college grad can schedule posts to go out at the times when they will reach the most people, as well as track engagement metrics to get a sense of how the content is being received.

Buffer also provides analytics and reporting tools that allow individuals to see which posts are performing well, so your child can tweak his or her strategy accordingly.

Whether your child is looking to build relationships with potential employers or simply stay connected with friends and family, Buffer offers an effective way to manage all aspects of his or her online presence in one convenient platform.


This is an excellent online reputation management service that college grads can use to their advantage.

It focuses on helping individuals centralize their audience interaction across various social media platforms and create customizable reports for optimal results.

Hootsuite’s reputation management tools include:

● Review monitoring

● Social media monitoring

● Review generation

● Reporting and analysis

● Response management

● Sentiment analysis

If you think your college grad has the time for the DIY approach when managing social media, then this tool will effectively help him or her maintain a positive online image that impresses potential employers and opens up limitless career opportunities in the future.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning, a subsidiary of LinkedIn, offers an array of courses and training sessions on personal branding, networking, and reputation management.

The pieces of training come from industry-leading instructors and individuals practicing what they preach at the highest level; so, you can trust it’s accurate.

The platform provides easy access to relevant resources that help job seekers develop their online presence and expand their professional networks.

For instance, the course on Managing Brand Reputation can be a great place for your grad to start.

It emphasizes the importance of proactive and organized reputation management to enhance career success.

As parents, you can guide your college student toward maximizing his or her career opportunities by using these effective reputation management techniques. In fact, simply introducing your child to LinkedIn Learning can be beneficial.

Strategies for Maintaining a Positive Reputation

To maintain a positive reputation, college students or grads need to continuously improve their skills, stay connected with their network, and invest in professional development.

Below, you’ll learn more about these strategies and how they can benefit your college student or graduate’s career opportunities.

Continuously Improve Their Skills

Investing in continuous skill improvement is essential to creating limitless career opportunities for college graduates.

In today’s rapidly evolving job market, it’s crucial to stay updated on the latest trends and technologies in your field of interest.

Moreover, engaging in online learning platforms like LinkedIn Learning can help grow a graduate’s critical knowledge base and enhance their skill sets.

As an added benefit, pursuing professional development demonstrates a commitment to personal growth and dedication to advancing one’s career. These are the things employers are looking for.

It shows them your child has the mindset to grow as a contributing employee of their organization.

Stay Connected With Their Network

College graduates looking to create limitless career opportunities have to do more than simply connect on LinkedIn or add contacts to an address book.

Anyone can do that.

What separates the mediocre from the extraordinary is a person’s skill in building and keeping relationships. This also means having a strategy about who to include in your professional network.

It’s best practice to regularly touch base with contacts through emails, phone calls, and social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

It’s also a good idea for your graduate to attend industry events, conferences, and meetups to expand his or her network further.

Again, maintaining a positive reputation requires consistent effort.

For example, your child can stay active by sharing relevant thought-leadership content, industry news updates, or even published works on LinkedIn, Twitter, or a website portfolio at least once per month.

This will not only remind those contacts how serious your student or college grad is about what he or she does, but it will also let his or her network track the progress of your child’s work via these shared links.

This is especially important for first-generation college students who have no examples in their family to demonstrate how to network.

Invest in Professional Development

Investing in professional development for college graduates who want to stay competitive and advance their careers can’t be ignored.

Attending workshops, seminars, and training sessions can help graduates acquire new skills and gain the knowledge they need to succeed in their field.

Networking events (as we discussed earlier) are valuable opportunities for professional growth. Plus, with the advancement of virtual meeting tools, now students don’t even need to leave the house to meet people that can help them grow professionally.

Another critical aspect of investing in professional development is seeking out feedback from supervisors or peers.

Constructive criticism can help your professionals understand where they need improvement and how they can enhance their performance.

What Can Parents Do Right Now to Help?

As a parent, you play an essential role in helping your college grad or student create limitless career opportunities by guiding him or her through the process of effective reputation management.

First and foremost, we like parents to encourage their children to clean up their social media presence and optimize their LinkedIn profile.

You can help review content on social media profiles for potential red flags or inappropriate language.

In addition, you can promote and encourage networking effectively by introducing them to people who may be able to help with job leads or mentorships.

Finally, we want parents to stress the importance of professional development and continuing education after graduation.

This approach is more important than ever and can make your investment in your child’s education and future worth it.

Either way, your college grad or student will have to navigate today’s competitive job market. Think about how much more effective they will be when they use these reputation management techniques to set themselves apart from other candidates while building a strong foundation for long-term success.


In today’s fast-paced job market, reputation management is an essential skill for college graduates to grasp a hold of.

But managing it alone can seem overwhelming. That’s why having an online reputation management team is a smart choice. It’s important you take steps to ensure your child showcases his or her best self.

By implementing the techniques outlined in this article, you are putting your college student on the best path to success. If you would like help getting started or checking your child’s online reputation report card head on over to ReputationDefender and download it for free.

By Rockey Simmons



Reputation Defender

Learn how Reputation Defender can help protect your online reputation and privacy. Reputation Defender is now part of Gen Digital Inc.