Guest Post: Have You ‘Googled’ Yourself Lately?

As you all know, we are getting ready for our big LinkedIn workshop this week. As part of our online presence theme, I am very pleased to feature a guest post today by Sara Lancaster of No. 2 Pen. I met Sara at a networking (it works, people!) event for the Women’s Education Project in March and she has been helping me with my website content. You should see her influence in about a week as I change the layout and language on some of my pages.

So pay attention to Sara’s advice on online profiles!

Have You ‘Googled’ Yourself Lately?

If you are embarking on a job search, you should search for your name now and continue to do so regularly. This is not about vanity; it’s about managing your online reputation.

How to Google yourself properly

Google has something called “personalized search,” which means it keeps track of your search history and serves you search results based on your preferences. In order to get less biased search engine results for your name, log out of all your accounts and clear your computer’s cache.

Then try the following search strategies:

  • Sara Lancaster (name)
  • Sara Lancaster writer (name, occupation)
  • Sara Lancaster Denver (name, city)
  • Sara Lancaster CU Boulder (name, alma mater)

You might also try these combinations of searches using quotation marks around your name or by using your last name only.

How to remedy an injured online reputation

Mashable.com recently published an article that stated 75% of HR departments screen candidates online, and that 70% of US-based HR professionals did not hire someone because of what they found online. What will an employer find out about you?

Facebook photos of you drinking at a party? An outdated MySpace page that you haven’t even looked at since high school? Your name on a forum talking about how you spend 18 hours a day playing World of Warcraft?

Now is the time to close old accounts, update privacy settings on the accounts you want to keep, and rewrite the “About Me” sections of your profiles. Consider having a professional photo taken or at least post a respectable photo to all public social media accounts.

Since Facebook is often the biggest trouble spot for potential employees, please be extra vigilant about untagging yourself from photos and making your profile private. Do not request to be friends or accept friend requests from employers, previous employers, and future employers unless you are confident you and your friends will keep it clean.

How to stack the search engine pages deck

Now that you fixed or tried to fix what’s already online, you should add content to the web ensuring potential employers have plenty of impressive content to review. Here are few ideas to get you started, but be creative! This is your chance to shine in the web space.

  • Create a YouTube video (using your flip cam) introducing yourself to potential employers
  • Complete your Google profile and add a link to your LinkedIn profile (If you aren’t already on LinkedIn, this is a must!)
  • Set up a profile on Naymz.com that includes a bio and your resume
  • Start Tweeting about the industry you want to work in
  • Blog about a hobby or topic you are passionate about

Managing your online reputation is an ongoing process. Be cognizant of what you put online and ask your friends to do the same.

Sara Lancaster is a website content writer and online marketing consultant for individuals and businesses. Read more about Sara, her agency, No. 2 Pen, and about how a website could help you in your job search by visiting the No. 2 Pen blog.