In today’s fast paced, highly competitive job market where first impressions are the fine line between success and failure, you must be keenly aware of your online image. Bear in mind that a rising number of human resource recruiters are using Google when gathering information on potential employees. The necessity to maintain a clean online image should be common sense. We all know that posting photos of ourselves dancing on bar tops and/or partaking in acts radicalism probably won’t help our image in the eyes of an employer.
With these points in mind, being anonymous on Google might sound like a safe bet. But what really happens if a Google search for your name comes back blank? If an employer searches Google for your name and absolutely no results are returned, are you really any better off? The answer may be no. A mid-2006 market analysis by career search firm ExecuNet reported that 77% of the job recruiters claim they use search engines as a primary tool to research potential employees. It seems quite probable that this percentage has increased drastically in the last year.
If Google can’t locate a single webpage that references you, how much of an impact could you have possibly made in your career? If you have a tech based career it paints an even darker picture of your past performance. Having your own web presence says something about your contributions to the market itself. Even if your presence is derived from short intelligent comments left on professional forums, it shows that you are actively involved and aware of what is going on.
The best defense against being Google anonymous is a good offense. Be proactive. Create a web presence that you are proud to identify with. When you set out to build this presence, use your real name if you want people to find you.
Here are 3 ideas to get you started:
1. Create a Blog – Blogger Adam Darowski suggests that the blog is the new resume. If executed properly, it could be even better than a resume. It is a true representation of who you are, spoken freely in your own words. Your blog has the power to completely influence someone’s opinion about you. It satisfies the curiosity of any entity, especially potential employers, which might Google you to see what kind of person you are. The key is to show them your best, but remain truthful while doing so. Truth is the key to success for any blogger.
2. Create a Personal Website – Popular domain sellers like GoDaddy and Yahoo Small-Business have simple step-by-step webpage creation tools that allow non-techie users to setup attractive websites. A website is designed to be more static than a blog, so you are not expected to update it as often. It could be used as a professional web portfolio by including your resume, professional works, career summaries, goals, etc.
3. Use Professional Networking Sites – Professional social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Ziggs can also assist you in establishing a respectable online presence that will be searchable via Google. Both sites allow you to build an online profile, associate it with past employers, and network with professional contacts.
Just remember, if you don’t exist to Google, you may not exist at all.