On the one hand, the Internet is a wonderful place to get your name out as a highly qualified job candidate. On the other hand, there may be information floating around about you that you'd rather was not shared with everyone in the world. How can you determine what's out there in cyberspace? Is there a way of managing digital dirt online?
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What's the deal with your digital dirt? When was the last time you Googled yourself? Some of my clients never have. They’ve just never thought there would be anything out there. But, I’ve Googled them, and they were surprised at what I found. So has every employer they’ve been trying to interview with. Yup. This could be making or breaking the hiring deal for you! Burying your digital dirt can help prevent that from happening in the future. Related: 6 Ways To Find Your Digital Dirt Before Your Employer Employers want to be sure their candidates don’t come with any baggage – legal, moral, financial, or otherwise. But, it’s not just about there being a lack of something bad about them online. Employers want to see something noteworthy. It’s important to have a powerful, positive presence. What do others value in you? What strengths, talents, and accomplishments can you showcase? That’s your personal brand. Smart job seekers understand this and want to control their digital identities. They use Google to their advantage in branding themselves. This can take some effort if you’ve got anything damaging out there: criminal history, negative social media posts, a disreputable past. That’s digital dirt, and if that’s what is out there when you Google yourself, you need to work on your brand. Other things can be problematic for your online identity. If you’ve got a common name, like Kristin Johnson (there are a lot us!), you might be mistaken for someone else. Digital dirt might be real indiscretions from your past, or they may be someone else’s. What employers see when they Google your name might not even be you! An employer might not take the time to figure that out, though, so you have to be proactive. Your goal is to have positive, intelligent content about you rank high in Google’s algorithm. This information will then take over the bad info on the first page of a Google search about you. The negative links will be pushed down onto subsequent Google pages where an employer will be less likely to look. Plus, your talent and contributions to the world will help offset any negative data that might be out there.
With more and more employers using search engines to rule out candidates, proactively controlling your online identity is important. I’ve discussed ideas for promoting positive information to boost your brand in past blogs like here. In this blog, I want to show you how to actually remove digital dirt impacting your brand.