Managing any online reputation starts with diagnosis. You can’t begin to counteract negative results until you know they are there, so it’s important to first run a baseline search on Google. This is the kind of search a future employer or any professional contact will make if they want to find out more about you. About 77 percent of HR personnel are actually required to Google potential employees as part of the hiring process, so a professional result page can make a big difference in your career. At ReputationDefender, we help clients create an online presence that actually increases their chance of landing a top-level job.
Start with a Vanity Search
Sign out of your Google account so you don’t pull up a personalised SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Then type your professional name into the search bar and hit enter. Include your middle name if you use it regularly and don’t forget to check for variations or misspellings of your name.
You can diagnose your search based on the following categories:
- Irrelevant – There are no results that tell an employer about your education or career. Anything about you is either out of date or it relates to a different part of your life.
- Someone Else – There are results for another person with a similar name. Recruiters are often considering multiple candidates at the same time and it’s easy to confuse people on the internet. Negative results that aren’t about you can still hurt you and positive results about someone else can be just as problematic. If a recruiter calls thinking you have a Master’s degree in physics, only to find out you don’t, it won’t make a favourable impression.
- Negative – There is at least one undesirable result about you. This could be an unfortunate Facebook post, a silly picture tagged by a friend, or a story about something unflattering that happened at your last job. Many people have this kind of material left over from college days or a period of their life when they were less careful, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
- Positive – This is the gold star rating. There are positive results that tell an employer about what you’ve done professionally. Some examples of positive results are professional social media profiles, articles about your career, or blog posts that relate to your field.
After running a search on Google, you should go on to diagnose your status on other search engines (Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, etc.) Google is the most widely used, but it’s a good idea to make sure you haven’t missed any results.
If your diagnosis revealed any of the first three categories (which is likely, unless you’ve already put a lot of work into reputation management) there’s work to be done. Read the next post to learn more about getting the results you want.
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