From May 26th to July 2nd, we will be sharing some lessons that will have you generating explosive results in no time. Celebrate America’s Independence on July 4th ready to conquer the job market with confidence, or with an offer in hand for a brand new job.
School may be out, but neteffects’ Kick-start Your Job Search 2016 session is in! Join us!
Kick-Start Your Job Search Lesson 1: Professional Reputation Management 101
Beyond the Google
When was the last time you Googled yourself?
(Go ahead, we’ll wait.)
If your answer is “never” or “what for?” you’re putting yourself at risk! Just with a simple search on Google, employers can learn A LOT about you. Links to your social profiles, pictures and more can easily reveal to them who you are or might be just from what they gather from their search.
Even if you’ve been careful to mark your social profiles as private, tagged images can (and do) appear in searches once they are indexed. Yes, even the less-than-flattering ones that you thought were long-since forgotten. But the crumbs that you’ve left behind online do give you an opportunity to paint the picture that you want an employer (or any one who might be interested in you in general) to find.
But what if an employer does a search on you and comes up with very little to nothing about you?
That could be just as damaging as finding an explosive and controversial Twitter rant. From our experience with some of the nation’s top employers, hiring managers do like to see that potential employees are up-to-date on the most relevant technology and engaged in their industry.
Homework assignment – inventory & cleanup of online life
For your first homework assignment, Google yourself. Make sure to do a general search and one based on your current geographical location. Example: Jon Snow, Jon Snow St. Louis MO.
Then check out Yahoo, Bing, Safari and Firefox just to do a cross check and see what comes up when you look yourself up across those search engines and take note of what links and images have your name associated with it. The results might be shocking, but fear not! You CAN get your online life in order relatively easy.
After you’ve taken inventory of the search result links and images, now go to the sites associated with your moniker. See something you’d like taken down? If it’s on a social site such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or the like, remove it, untag it, or ask the person responsible for the content to take it down. If they refuse to meet your request, almost all social sites offer you the opportunity to report the image at which time the social platform reviews it and then asks that it be removed, or they may remove it themselves. Most people are usually understandable to such requests and are happy to comply.
In the future, you can update and review your profile settings across all the major social platforms and use tools like Google Alerts (free) and Mentions (monthly cost for individuals) to monitor what is being said about you and by whom. Both tools are very easy to use and offer excellent ways to not only keep track of the word about you, but also allow you an opportunity to engage with those interested in you.
Build Up The Good Word
Now that you’ve cleaned up your online life, it’s time to dive into building up the good word about you. This is where the fun begins. Take a look at your industry – how do the big players engage online? What platforms do your colleagues use? Are there any ways that you can set yourself apart?
Take this scenario for instance: You’re a Project Manager who is already active on Slack and Twitter but you’re only on LinkedIn every now and again. You can take advantage of LinkedIn’s free publishing to post self-authored articles directly into the platform. Or, you can hop on over to Medium to start publishing there and link the content back to LinkedIn. You can post helpful tips, a review of tools of the trade, or other relevant content related to your profession.
The more engaged you are online, the more content there is for the website bots to crawl and read about you. Before long…Voila! Your Google search now shows links to your pieces you’ve authored! Or better yet, has shared a link to your online website which houses all of your wonderful content and that snazzy headshot of talented you.
In short, get out there and produce the kind of content that you want found about you online. If there are social platforms that make sense for you to be on, set up those profiles and get started! If you’re on LinkedIn and have a network of current and former colleagues, bosses, etc. it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for recommendations of your work (and highly advised!) A professional or personal recommendation can and does go a long way on LinkedIn and beyond.
Homework assignment – get active & engaged online
If you’re lacking in search results online or could use a visibility boost, becoming engaged online is the solution. Set up profiles on the platforms most relevant to you and your industry, and become active! While adding some personal flavor (family or travel pics, quotes, etc.) is acceptable, having that be all or most of what you share is not. Find an interesting article you’ve read and liked? Share it! Just make sure to give credit to the original source.
If you’re on LinkedIn, ask for those recommendations! Don’t be shy! Just make sure to return the favor and manage the recommendations appropriately (there are privacy settings you can control.) You can also give endorsements to those in your network whose work you’re familiar with and they can provide them to you – another way that boosts visibility on this platform.