Last week I shared the startling statistic that 79% of employers Google job seekers before inviting them for an interview to emphasize the importance of Googling yourself. If after doing so, you didn’t find anything about yourself, I shared some tips on how to create an online brand.
But possibly even more unnerving than no search results is one that you wouldn’t want an employer to find. For example, as a cancer patient or survivor, you may have tweeted about your diagnosis or blogged about your experience and now you don’t want to disclose your diagnosis to a potential employer. Here are some ways to help you lessen the impact of this information in a Google search:
- Find out how much of this unwanted information is actually out there (check Yahoo and Bing as well).
- Delete what information you can from Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. If you’ve been active on the site for a long time, older posts are probably buried already.
- If you can’t delete it, email a request to the website to delete or block it from being searchable.
- Set up a Google alert for your name or any other ways a company might search for you. This way, you will be notified of information about you as it appears.
- Build up your profile and activity on professional sites such as LinkedIn (see last week’s blog).
- Post a professional picture of yourself on these sites to produce more rankings in a search.
If you repeat these steps for a few months, it should be enough to reconstruct your online brand. Just remember to focus future posts on defining who you are professionally. If this isn’t enough, it is possible to hire a professional, often for a hefty fee.
Hiring a Pro
Online Reputation Management (ORM) firms promise to reshape your online image by controlling what information appears most prominently when people search you online. For more information, check out our article on Online Reputation Management.
Don’t forget to download or order a free copy of our new Job Search Toolkit for more information about brand and online reputation management!