By Ashley Stahl, Originally Published in Forbes
When was the last time you Googled yourself? I hope your answer is relatively recent, because if you’re in the job market and actively applying for jobs, your prospective employers probably have Googled you. According to recent studies, 77% of employers Google candidates prior to an interview, and 60% use social media to research candidates.
A client of mine we’ll call Claire learned that the hard way. She came to me frustrated with her job search. She was doing all the right things: she had a solid resume, she had strong skills and experience, and she was pursuing jobs that were good matches for her. Yet she wasn’t making any progress. As we were troubleshooting how she could switch up her approach, we Googled her name and let’s just say we uncovered the reason Claire wasn’t getting many bites.
I’ll say this: there were beer bongs, bikinis and bras involved. Not pretty.
It’s important that you’re aware of what prospective employers will find online about you, because your Internet footprint is a huge part of your personal brand. You can use this to your advantage, though, by developing your own personal brand and making sure that internet searches of your name reflect your brand and leave employers with a positive impression of you. Here are 7 tips for boosting your personal brand.
- Come up with a theme. It’s ok to have a broad one so that you can showcase your uniqueness and diversity, but make sure there’s at least an overarching commonality throughout your branding. If you’re all over the place, prospective employers may doubt your sincerity or your dedication to your field.
- Buy the URL for your name, if you can. Some people with common names won’t be able to purchase theirs, but if you have a unique name, make sure you buy the rights to it. Whether you use the site to maintain a blog or portfolio or online resume, scoop it up now before someone beats you to it.
- Be authentic. Don’t embellish or brag. If you’re too boastful through your branding, employers will see right through it and will likely develop a negative impression of you.
- Clean up your Internet reputation. Google yourself, and if there are things out there you’d rather prospective employers not see, contact the site hosts to see if you can get the information removed. Set up Google alerts for your name so that if any new content about you hits the internet, you’ll know immediately.
- Don’t just make it about you. Personal branding isn’t just about showcasing yourself. It’s about demonstrating your contributions to your field as well. Show employers the value you add to your field and to your colleagues, whether it’s through a blog or on social media sites.
- Make sure the theme of your personal brand is incorporated into your business cards, resume and portfolio. This will show an employer that you’re professionally consistent and confident.
- Keep your brand up-to-date. Regularly update your LinkedIn page, as well as your other social media sites. If you maintain a blog, make sure you’re posting entries on a regular basis.
In this day of Internet transparency, it’s all the more important to be in control of the information that’s out there about you, and thus it’s key that you Google yourself now!
What Claire’s Internet presence was portraying to the world before we cleaned it up was certainly not the image she intended to present to the world. Fortunately, we were able to remove the inappropriate content and set up a new personal blog for her, so she now shines in her little corner of the Internet.
And she started her new job last week.