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career, job search, recruiting

Do you know what Google says about you?

Many of us have engaged in the practice of Egosurfing from time to time. It’s interesting–and, yes, I suppose a potential ego boost–to find out what the Internet has to say about us.

But how many of us have applied the job search lens to what Google might say about us?

I am against the practice of Googling a candidate. Much like looking them up on Facebook, it has the potential to expose information that is irrelevant (and potentially not allowed by law) into the selection process. However, it cannot be assumed that it will never happen. Therefore, a few pointers:

Make sure you know what a Google search returns on your name. If its unique enough, you should be the top result; if not, you might get confused with another Joe Smith-and that might be a bad thing.

  • Control what results are populated from sites like Facebook by managing your security permissions-what people can see outside your network, who can tag you and post photos of you, how searchable you are, etc. You want to control what personal information is visible and searchable.
  • Actively manage what results people see by creating a unique LinkedIn URL, building out your LinkedIn profile completely, and adding yourself to professional networks like Spoke, ZoomInfo, And Naymz. Create a Twitter account for professional use and populate it with content. Participate on professional sites for your industry (ERE and RecruitingBlogs are two examples in mine) through engaging in discussions with other professionals.
  • Keep these sites current with new content. This serves two purposes. One, it increases your SEO ranking-the more content you create, and more recently you create that content, the more likely you will be ranked higher in search results. Two, it demonstrates your subject matter expertise and passion; you don’t just do this as a day job, you are interested in learning and sharing your knowledge with your professional peers.
  • Protect your online reputation. Again, the best way to manage your online reputation is to be very careful about what people can post about you through sites like Facebook.  Consider making yourself not publicly searchable on Facebook. If you find something that you want removed, consider using an online reputation management service like Reputation  (note: I have no affiliation with Reputation and have not used their services).

Remember: Everything that is put out on the internet isn’t done so in virtual pencil; its in indelible ink. Just because you delete that photo on Facebook doesn’t mean it’s not stored in an archive somewhere else (or many such archives). Think carefully about that before you hit ‘post’.

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