You’ve probably already Googled everyone from your online dating matches to your prospective employer. But did you ever stop to think that they can just as easily run a search on you too?
If you’ve recently applied for a job or set up a meeting with a potential client, it’s highly probable that someone is about to type your name into the search bar – Do you know what they are going to find?
In a recent survey, a whopping 93 per cent of employers said that they will search for your social media profiles during the interview process, confirming that how you show up online has the power to make or break an opportunity, long before you even get the chance to meet in person.
What you post and how you behave on social media creates a first impression of the sort of person you might be. Even a quick look at your online profiles can reveal a lot about you and tell the person searching for you; what you look like, who you’re connected to and ultimately whether you seem like the sort of person who would fit in with whatever they are considering you for. 55% of the survey respondents said that they have changed their minds about a candidate based on their social profile, and 61% of those reassessments were negative, which is rather unfortunate for those people who didn’t consider the potential consequences before posting online.
So let’s see what they’ve been looking at… Open a new tab and type your name into Google. In an ideal world, you’ll find that you dominate the first two to three pages of search results. Let’s face it; anything beyond page three is likely to be covered in digital dust and cyber cobwebs! Don’t forget to also check the Images tab and see what photos are showing up when you run a search on your name?
Let’s face it; anything beyond page three is likely to be covered in digital dust and cyber cobwebs!
It could be that nothing is showing up, which will make having an impact easier but in the meantime, having no online presence can be as unappealing to a prospective opportunity as having the highs and lows of your party days displayed for the entire world to see. Maybe someone shares your name and they’re all over your search results? Thanks to a few deed poll name changes, I’m the only ‘Sallee Poinsette-Nash‘ in the world (which is a story for another time!) and this makes increasing my online presence easier. However, I’ve worked with clients who have shared their names with Hollywood actors, drink drivers, porn stars and even murderers! When this is the case, cleaning up your online image may need some creative thinking and will take a little longer but if you consistently flood the internet with new content, you’ll get there.
Think about all the various ways your life has made it online. This will mostly be via social media and it’s likely that not everything you or your friends have posted about you over the years is going to be work friendly. If this is the case, see if you can get any information removed by the person who has posted it. This can often be done by polite request but if it’s something a little trickier, there’s always the legal route.
Being active online and highlighting the positives is the best way to improve your online reputation. You can do this in many ways, including setting up your own website, being active on social media and writing for industry relevant publications.
Setting up Google Alerts for your name and associated projects will keep you in the loop via email any time new information pops up. Staying on top of it and going back through those social media feeds with a fine-tooth comb will help in portraying the best version of you, and help you to build a more cohesive and professional personal brand.
Last but by no means least – be a ‘human being’ online! It may sound silly, but the best way to establish a positive online reputation is to be active, and to be you. This means using your real name, filling out your social profiles with legitimate information, and using a professional head shot that shows your face and personality. All this google searching is because employers and clients want to learn more about you – so give them what they want, give them YOU!