If you did a Google search of yourself right now, what would you find? You might find photos of yourself on your MySpace page from your rebellious teen years. You may find comments you made to friends about the party you went to or your latest crush. On the other hand, you may find posts on Facebook indicating your loathe of certain people, businesses or life experiences. Chances are good, you would not like what you see and neither would your potential employer. Anything you could find online, they could, too.
What to Do About It
Most employers are taking steps to learn more about candidates and their personal livers to evaluate whether a job is a good fit. In doing so, many will quickly learn what you are really like. What can you do about it? Here are some tips based on the various situations you may be dealing with online.
You Don’t Appear to Exist
In some situations, you may not be easily found online. That can be just as bad as having something negative out there in cyber space. If you do not have an easy way for people to learn about you, start by creating a profile on LinkedIn, a professional networking website. You can also start social networking. For business professionals, sites like Plaxo and Viadeo are good places to start.
They Won’t Like What They See
If your Facebook page is the first thing to show up with a search of your name and your posts are not promising, take action. A good first step in this case is to stop creating those embarrassing and troublesome posts. The second thing to do is to add more content and information to your site that gives you a favorable outlook – you may need to add a significant amount to bury the bad. You can also do nothing and just wait for the information to fade into cyberspace. Keep in mind this process can take some time.
There Are Too Many of You
Another problem people have is sharing their name with numerous other people who seem to rank better in the search engines than you do. If you have a popular name and want people to find you online, there are a few things you can do. Create a unique name for yourself that remains professional. You may wish to use just an abbreviation of your first name. You may be able to add a middle initial to help distinguish yourself from others. You will need to take steps to boost your status online, though. That means being more active online and networking within the right circles.
Keep in mind that not having a presence online will not help you. You will benefit from potential employers doing a search and finding positive information about you. The question is, what is out there lurking that could damage your potential hire?