Did you know that 81% of employers Google potential candidates before interviewing them? If you weren’t aware, you need to wake up and smell the digital age. Ever since the growth of social media, our generation has had a problem with realizing that everything we do online is being archived in the search giant. The availability of information can make for an interesting background check, if you aren’t careful. However, this can also be very beneficial when you’re career hunting. Whether we like it or not, it is our responsibility to be aware of what information Google reveals about us and proactively take action.
Online reputation management
Online reputation management is the process of actively monitoring, accessing, and mitigating negative commentary about a person or brand from top SERPs (search engine results pages). In other words, this is the constant process of monitoring search results for keywords, such as your first and last name, analyzing the outcomes and using techniques to draw negative results lower and drive positive results higher in more prominent positions. Reputation management was introduced for both brands and people to counteract search engine results that don’t portray their brand. In this case, your digital identity represented to future employers, business partners or even personal acquaintances.
How to audit your online reputation
If you haven’t looked at the search results associated with your name, stop reading this blog post and go to Google immediately. Type your name in the search box and see what appears in the first three pages. In many cases, most people don’t even go past the first page of results. Take some time and review each result, while asking yourself these questions:
- When someone searches my name, what will they see?
- Do these results represent who I am?
- Would these results make me want to do business with me or even hire me?
- What do I want these results to illustrate about me? Especially since this is the new “first impression.”
Many strategists and online reputation specialists would say to look at other engines such as: Bing, Yahoo, Spokeo and Pipl.com. But, I would suggest to first start with Google, since nearly everyone uses it as his or her dominant search engine. You can always do a further audit using these sites later.
Tips to help fix your reputation
If you find yourself in need of some help, it’s time for your search engine results makeover. Luckily now that you have identified the problem, you can start figuring out a solution and adding value to your search results. The great part of online reputation management, is that it’s directly related to search engine optimization (SEO). Although, there is no way for you to delete or erase search results from Google, you can replace them. The following are some tips to help rebuild your reputation, however, you must remember these won’t be effective unless you use your correct first and last name and not a nickname.
- Start tweeting – Create a profile on Twitter and start sharing content you find interesting from blogs and other sources, especially news that pertains to your industry and passion. Show people who you are and don’t be afraid to talk to others.
- Turn your Facebook profile to private – Because many of us use Facebook for more personal and intimate reasons, I would leave your profile private, so only your friends can view it. The rationale for doing this is that someone searching your name would only get a quick overview of your interests and you, but not peak into your private life. Also, since Facebook has such a large web presence, anyone on the network will show up in the first page of their search results.
- Create profiles on professional networks – Create social profiles on professional networks such as Linkedin and Brazencareerist and use these tools to network and build your professional resume. Fill their predefined profiles with relevant professional experience to show off your career side.
- Consider an ePortfolio – The luxury of having an ePortfolio is the ability to create a holistic view about yourself online. You can highlight your strengths and even show off samples of your work. Check out my recent blog post about the benefits an ePortfolio can have during a career search or check out a sample ePortfolio.
- Leave a comment on blog posts – One of the simplest ways to counteract negative reputation is by leaving comments on blog posts that interest you. Especially on blogs with a high Google page rank. This is a great way to add extra value to a blog post, spark a discussion, acknowledge a blogger and network with others.
- Start a blog – By starting your own blog, you have the opportunity to get creative and share whatever you want. Since your personal blog is solely centered on you, Google will likely display your blog in the top three search result spots. The more you grow your blog, the greater opportunity you have to stretch your talents and control what others perceive about you.
Googling yourself may be something that could be ignored in the past, but it can no longer be ignored now. The rise of social media has made processes, such as a simple background check, as simple as a click of the mouse. Like I stated earlier, no one is responsible for our online reputation but us.
So, have you Googled yourself lately?