“I’d heard that a lot of employers will do some due diligence online before interviewing people, but I didn’t have any type of online presence at the time—no Facebook, no LinkedIn, nothing,” says Kevin. “But I decided to Google myself, anyway, to see what came up.”
What he found was another Kevin G., whose disturbing information was readily available online. “The Kevin G. who came up was a child sex offender,” Kevin says. “He has a different middle initial, and he’s in his sixties, while I’m in my twenties. But I didn’t think that potential employers would even get to those details. Instead, I saw them passing up on my résumé once they saw that the whole first page of search results for my name was from mugshots.com and bustedoffenders.com.”
Clearly, Kevin needed to do something—and fast. Luckily, a friend of his told him about a website called BrandYourself. It’s one of many online reputation management services that claim to be able to swiftly clean up your digital profile. Depending on how much cyber-scrubbing needs to be done, these services can either be free or cost upwards of $1,000 a month.
But are they worth it?
To find out, we checked in with people just like Kevin who’ve used these popular sites for honest feedback on their digital revamps—as well as asked experts for advice on how you can improve your internet rep without shelling out a lot of cash.