Checking out employers and jobs online?
Guess what: those same employers are checking you out online, too.
Today’s hiring managers will Google you to find out where you’ve worked, whom you associate with and what you’re involved in. As a responsible job seeker, it’s up to you to control what an employer can find.
The smartest way to do this is by keeping tabs on your “digital footprint.” This practice (sometimes referred to as “egosurfing”) may seem vain at first glance. Honestly, however, it’s an essential part of managing your online reputation – and therefore an essential part of your job search.
Do you know what your digital footprint looks like? If not, we can help you get started. Today, A.R. Mazzotta explains how to self-Google, so you can discover and remove unwanted information, photos or videos that you don’t want a potential employer to see:
1: Search Yourself
- Use more than one search engine. Google remains the world’s most popular search engine, and as such, it should be on the top of your list. But many people use search engines other than Google. Consider also searching for your own name on sites like Bing, Yahoo!, and Ask.
- Search multiple strings. Typing in your own name is clearly the first step; but also try searching common misspellings of your name, as well as nicknames and maiden names.
- Try a blog search engine. Blog posts won’t always rank high in standard search results, so run your name through a blog search engine to learn more about what others are saying about you.
2: Manage the Results
- Use the available tools. To date, Google offers the best set of built-in tools for managing your online reputation, such as the option to strike some listings from Google search results pages. Remember, though, that these listings may appear on other search engines, so don’t rely on Google exclusively.
- Clean up after yourself. Clean up old profiles on social media or dating sites, as well as comments you’ve left on blog posts, by deleting or setting to private any information you don’t want prospective employers to see.
- Make requests when needed. When you can’t delete or make private a piece of information, a photo, or a video, contact the person who posted it or the site administrator and ask for assistance.
3: Be Responsible
- Keep track of all your “touch points.” Every online profile, comment and posting that can be tracked back to your name reflects on you in some way. Stay on top of your digital footprint and monitor it regularly.
- Avoid personal attacks and insults. They’ll only come back to haunt you. Even if your own profile is locked down, argumentative comments under your name may come up in search engine results if the other person’s profile is public. So if you must defend a point online, stick to the issue.
- Remember that the internet is forever. Even “deleted” information is often recoverable online to a sufficiently determined searcher. The best protection for your online identity is to avoid posting compromising information in the first place.
Searching yourself online is an important step in ensuring your viability as a candidate. Preserve and define your personal brand by making sure you know what comes up when an employer searches for your name.