Yes, you read that right. Your laptop is already open, so go ahead. Open a new browser window, head over to Google’s nifty little search engine, and type in your name. What pops up first? It could be your Facebook profile, your Twitter feed, possibly even a cooking blog you started back when you were in high school, and sort of left hanging out in the blogosphere. Whatever it is that appears as a result of your search, there is one important question you should ask yourself: Are you okay with what Google turns up about you? An even bigger question to consider: Are you okay with potential employers seeing it? That answer may change the way you see yourself online.
Taking my own advice, I went ahead and googled myself. Typing in just my first and last name, the first three things that came up were my Twitter feed, my Pinterest account, and the ‘Contact Us’ page from my current job’s website. Alongside that, the first three images one will see of me are a photo from an internship I worked a couple summers ago, my current professional headshot, and my icon photo from my Twitter account. Those six things right there can give an employer an incredible impression as to what type of person I am, both professionally and personally.
Employers do research on Facebook and, yes, they Google your name. Social media is a huge part of our everyday lives. I bet a $100 right now that along with reading this; you also have your Facebook and/or Twitter open. Maybe Pinterest? You get my point. We’re plugged in all the time.
It’s hard to come across anyone who doesn’t already have an online presence, so why not take the steps to make it work to your advantage? First things first, you have to know what’s out there about you. This is where googling yourself comes in. After that, take the proper steps to change what potential and current employers could find out about you through a simple Google search.
Don’t just search your first and last name. Type in your phone number, any and all your domain names, and your email address. Change your Facebook profile privacy to only allow your Facebook friends access to your profile. If you insist on keeping your Facebook profile public, remember a picture is worth a thousand words. Do you really want an employer seeing pictures of that one Spring Break where you got, like, sooo totally wasted? Not really. A good job is more important than showing off how fabulous you looked in a bikini while drinking in Cancun.
You want your online presence to wow a potential employer just as much as when you meet them in person. They want to see you’re a well-rounded individual. You have a blog where you like to review the latest and greatest books? That’s great! It’s also showcasing skills you possess, like excellent writing and time management. Now that’s something an employer wants to see.
As you start your job search, you always want to make sure you have your bases covered. Presenting yourself doesn’t only include a great cover letter, a perfect resume, and amazing references anymore. It also includes your online presence. Save yourself the heartache, and clean up your digital trail.
Of Possible Interest:
- My Digital Stamp – Erik Qualman TEDx Talk
- Social Media & Digital Identity – all of our blog posts on the topic
- Social Media & Digital Identity – our Pinterest board with articles & resources