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What do you find when you “Google” your name? Do you come up on page 1 or is that someone else with the same name? Do you come up on page 2? Any of the pages? Does “digital dirt” come up (like your recent FaceBook photos showing last weekend’s beer party)? Is this what you would want a potential employer to see? Because like it or not, employers and recruiters are checking you out. Your online presence, or lack of it, IS INFLUENCING the powers that be in their hiring decisions.
So what should you do about this? Set a goal of building your online presence. A great place to start is with LinkedIn.com, a popular business networking site that today’s recruiters are using to sleuth for candidates. There is extensive information online about this site, as well as books, blogs, and workshops.* Creating a profile on this site can help you get onto page 1 of Google – no charge. You can also check out industry blogs (use technorati.com to search for blogs by topic) and comment intelligently on them – this raises your Google presence and can help promote a positive image. You can also create your own blog, just be sure you are writing things that demonstrate expertise in your field of interest – or at least that your blog does not add any more personal “dirt” to the blogosphere. If you do any public speaking or publish an article – even in the opinion section of the newspaper – it can lead to a Google note about you on page 1 of a search.
How to get rid of “digital dirt”? Well, like any dirt, you either remove it or sweep it under the rug. So, you may want to consider removing some FaceBook pictures from last week’s keg party. Also, learn how to use the privacy controls on these sites. And finally, the more you “add”, the more you build your presence. So get moving and see what you can do to influence others!