GUIDE: Your Reputation Score Explained

Update: We just published a more up to date guide that explains your online reputation score in more detail.

People are googling you, and what they find matters

Whether you like it or not, people are looking you up online. From potential employers, to clients, to admissions officers to first dates, there’s a good chance that somebody is googling your name online. 75% of HR departments are required to look up candidates online, (Cross-tab). While this may not come as a surprise exactly, it’s important to know that what people find can have a significant impact on your life! If you’re applying to school, consider this, 42% of admissions officers say that what they’ve found about an applicant on social media negatively impacted his or her chances of admission, (Kaplan Test Prep, 2017). And, a whopping 90% of executive recruiters look candidates up on social (Forbes, 2013). And these are just a few stats, remember, people are looking you up online before hiring or working with you, and what they find matters.

Positive results help you; a lack of info hurts you, but negative results really hurt you

While it’s easy to get overly concerned with how much negative or irrelevant search results can hurt you, it’s important to note that positive search results can actually help you. In the world of dating, 51% of adults who looked their date up online beforehand said they found something that solidified their decision to still go on a date with the person (Harris Study). And if you’re applying to college, 47% of admissions officers say that what they’ve found on social media about an applicant positively impacted his or her application, (Kaplan Test Prep, 2017).

Your Reputation Score and earning potential

BrandYourself, reputation score, earning potential

At BrandYourself, we’ve developed an algorithm that quantifies just how much your online presence is helping you or hurting you. Your Reputation Score identifies the number and severity of negative search results in comparison to the quality and volume of positive search results for your name. BrandYourself’s technology pulls from the latest data and research available by industry to then quantify how much these factors are impacting your earning potential. People with higher scores are statistically more likely to win career opportunities than those with lower scores. The easiest way to improve your online reputation and maximize your earning potential is to minimize current or future risk factors and follow your custom positive content action plan from BrandYourself.  

The risk factors that impact your Reputation Score the most

No matter where you are in your career, online risk factors determine whether or not you earn your full potential. Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the most damaging online behaviors that lower your Reputation Score and overall earning potential: 

Red Flag Risk Factors:

Whether you’re applying to school, or starting a company, keep this information in mind, these are some of the most common red flags:

1. Unprofessional Behavior

  • Talking about skipping or showing up late for work/school
  • Complaining about coworkers, bosses or past employers
  • Admitting to subpar work or not caring about your job/education
  • Any other behavior that would be questionable in the workplace

2. Unprofessional Communication Style

  • Swearing or profanity
  • Poor grammar or spelling

3. Drinking or Drug Use

  • Excessive drinking, getting wasted, etc.
  • Photos of chugging beer, doing keg stands, recklessly partying, etc.
  • Talking about illegal drugs
  • Photos of illegal or prescription drugs

4. Criminal Behavior

  • Any admission of illegal behavior (shoplifting, breaking and entering, theft, etc.)

5. Polarizing Views

• Extreme positions on controversial current events and issues

6. Sexually Explicit Content

  • Talking about sexual behavior, genitals, porn, etc.
  • Posting sexually provocative photos
  • Any other sexually charged content that could make someone feel uncomfortable

7. Violence or Bullying

  • Hostile speech, hateful insults, threats, etc.
  • Giving the middle finger or other gestures
  • Talking about using weapons

8. Bigoted Behavior

  • Discriminatory remarks toward race, gender or religion
  • Any other indication of intolerance toward groups of people


Positive online factors

Don’t dwell on the negative parts of your online reputation that are out of your hands. Instead, accentuate the positive and build up your assets.  Whether you’re applying to school, looking for a job, or own a business, the following are some of the most common online factors that keep people interested in you and keep your Reputation Score high:

  1. Examples of Professional Behavior
  • Leadership
  • Engagement on LinkedIn (according to a small study)
  • Awards and honors
  • Information that supports their qualifications for the job
  1. Ability to Communicate Professionally
  • Language that is appropriate
  • Writing that is free of spelling/grammatical errors
  • The content of communication is relevant to your industry
  1. Professional Images
  • Photos connected to your name are appropriate for work
  • Images reinforce your professional pursuits
  • Images support your hobbies
  1. Appropriate Online Engagement
  • Engaged in relevant communities to professional life
  • Not engaged in groups/hobbies that are against your company’s codes
  • No polarizing views that are discriminatory, bigoted, sexist, etc.
  • You do not bully/harass people online
  • Regularly update your online properties
  • Others post/publish positive things about you online
  1. Life Outside of Work
  • Extracurriculars
  • Hobbies
  • Demonstrated interests and passions
  • A personality that fits with the company’s culture
  • Creativity

BrandYourself, positive factors, collegeThink about it, 47% of admissions officers who looked up potential applicants online say that what they found had a positive impact on students’ application efforts. (Kaplan).



And 86% of U.S. recruiters and HR professionals say that a positive online reputation influences their hiring decisions. Nearly half say that a strong online reputation influences their decisions to a great extent (From CrossTab’s, Online Reputation in a Connected World). Nearly half (44%) of employers have found content on a social networking site that caused them to hire the candidate.


BrandYourself CEO positive online factorsAnd if you’re a CEO, executive or business owner, positive factors in your online presence still matter. 77% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company whose CEO and leadership team engage on social media. And 82% of consumers are more likely to trust a company whose CEO and leadership team engage on social media.


Other reasons to build up your online presence and social media engagement as a CEO include the following (Weber Shandwick):

  • Positive impact on company’s reputation: 78%
  • Helps build relationships with news media: 75%
  • Makes executives on your team feel inspired (52%), technologically advanced (46%) and proud (41%).
  • You’re more likely to be seen as a good communicator than if you don’t post on social media (55% vs. 38%, respectively).

Wherever you are in your career, a strong online personal brand is in your best professional and financial interest!

How to get started using BrandYourself’s DIY tool

At BrandYourself we take online reputations seriously, and our mission is to provide everyone with the tools and services they need to take control of their online presence. Our newest features give you even more insight into how you look online, the impact that it’s having on your career and steps you can take to improve how you look online.

brandyourself, cleansearch technologyAnd it’s not hard to do, we built our tool to walk you through the process. To increase your earning potential, log in once a week and spend 30 minutes following your action plan. Over the course of a year, you’ll see significant improvements.

Don’t have time to do it yourself?

If you don’t want to improve your Reputation Score by yourself, we can do it for you. Check out our Managed Services, and give us a call at 646.863.8226 or schedule a consultation to discuss your options.