Do You See What I See?

Online BrandThe overwhelming majority of employers and recruiters Google potential candidates and the more I poll audiences to see if they realize this possibility, the more I find that at least half of the attendees never considered this probability. Have you Googled your name? If not, put your name in quotations (e.g.  “Kristen Jacoway”) and see the results you obtain on the first 3 pages. Why only 3 pages? iProspect did a study that found that 92% of respondents do not click past page 3 of a Google search result.

Three Tools for Evaluating Your Own Online Brand

  1. Online ID Calculator: The online identity calculator was developed by William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson who wrote Career Distinction. You will enter some data about yourself plus the results you receive when you Google your name. The calculator will score this information and rank you as Digitally Disguised, Digitally Dissed (means you have unfavorable results), Digitally Dabbling, and Digitally Distinct.
  2. Addictomatic: You can search many different types of platforms to get a clearer picture of what the Internet says about you. Addictomatic shows tweets, posts through FriendFeed, videos on YouTube, Truveo Video Search, blogs, Wikio, Bing, Yahoo, Flickr, and more.
  3. Klout: Klout is becoming a standard to measure your social influence online. Scores range from 1 to 100 using more than 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure the following factors: True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score.

In December 2009, research commissioned by Microsoft found that 79% of U.S. hiring managers and job recruiters reviewed online information about potential job candidates. If someone Googled you, are they likely to find information that supports that personal brand for which you want to be known or not? Consider this-in this same study, they found that 70% of U.S. hiring managers have rejected candidates based on what they found online about that person.

Tips to Protect Your Online Reputation

  • Be mindful of what you tweet or comment on Facebook: Companies have employed the utilization of social media listening tools like Radian6, TweetBeep, Google Alerts, Company Buzz, and more. The majority will “hear” if you use their name.  Likewise, be careful of what you say in general. I had a client that made a negative comment on a Facebook Fan Page and the comment ended up being on page 1 of her Google results. If you wouldn’t want a potential employer to read it, then don’t type it!
  • Set Your Privacy Settings: Most social networking sites offer privacy settings. If you are using a social network strictly for personal use, then set high privacy controls. Think about your objective for using the site—is it to establish your thought leadership and expertise? If so, you will not want high privacy settings so that you can be found.
  • Be careful of what you are doing AT ALL TIMES: Not to increase paranoia, but be mindful of what you are doing. With the rise of people having cameras and video cameras on their phones, all it takes is a couple of clicks for a compromising picture or video to be uploaded to the Internet with your name tagged (making it a searchable result). The very nature of the Internet is viral and can be spread very quickly causing it to be difficult to remove.
  • Sign-up for Google Alerts for Your Name: Go to Google.com/alerts and sign-up to receive an email when your name appears on the Internet. Again, put your name in quotation marks to receive clean results. Monitor your online brand so that you can be proactive in managing your reputation.

How to Deal with Digital Dirt

  • Contact the owner of the website or administrator of the page and ask nicely for the content to be removed.
  • Contract with a company such as Reputation Defender if your attempts to get content removed are not successful.
  • Hire an Online Identity Strategist who can consult with you on ways to build a stellar online presence. Reach Communications certifies people worldwide as online identity strategists.
  • Develop relevant, on-brand results for the Internet via articles, book reviews, blogging, and more to try to push the results past page 3 of a Google search.

To summarize, be proactive about your personal brand both offline and online. At one point statistics showed that for every job opening, there were approximately seven qualified people on the candidate list. Monitoring your online brand is more critical today than ever in this tight job market.


Guest Expert:

Kristen Jacoway is the founder of Career Design Coach, providing professional speaking, training, and one-on-one consultation focused on next-generation career marketing services. She wrote the book, “I’m in a Job Search-Now What???” and the book has frequently ranked in the Top 100 in its’ category on Amazon. She writes for The Atlantic City Weekly and YOUnique, a global personal branding newsletter. After her husband’s long-term career was off-shored, she became passionate about career management – researching to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. Kristen earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Auburn University in Auburn, AL.

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