I like to tell my clients they will be Googled just as surely as it will rain in Portland tonight. Do you know what they will see when they find you? Online reputation management is a critical piece of your job search. There is just no getting around it, no matter what field you are in. Quick story: When I Googled my name a year ago, I was a convicted felon and a prolific New York gynecologist, either simultaneously or separately. I was sure I didn’t want to be associated with those jobs, so I embarked on a campaign to bring the real “me” to Google’s first page. The good news is now my LinkedIn profile comes up on Google’s first page. What a huge relief! I was worried what kind of appointments people were scheduling with me. The bad news is this happened only after many months of putting myself out there. Results didn't happen overnight. But there is a method and science to getting your name ranked on Google’s first page. Follow these easy steps to finally take back control of your internet reputation:
Assess The Current State Of Your Online ReputationIn order to know how much effort to put in your re-branding efforts, you’ll need to assess how bad it is. 1. Google your name and notice how many times the real you comes up on the first page, and also on the first three pages. Remember to use your first and last name as well as your first name, middle initial and last name combinations. (If you have a common name, always use your middle initial when publishing anything online and on your social media profiles.) 2. Use Pipl.com to search for your name. Does the real you come up? Pipl.com is the most comprehensive people search I’ve found online. It will reveal any criminal records, past address, and other skeletons. Recruiters use this all the time. So should you. 3. Depending on these results, you may have a lot of work ahead of you to begin to rebuild your name. Use this data to figure out how much time you need to spend on this project.
Bury The Dead, Plant A TreeRanking on Google is just a matter of building a web of “you.” The more links, sites, or pages with your name Google indexes, the better. It’s a matter of burying the old results but making new results rank higher. Here are some basic principles:
- Traditional search-engine optimization (SEO) suggests the more times your name shows up on highly reputable websites, the higher it will rank on the results page.
- So in order to knock down the stuff you don’t want, you have to build the stuff you do want.
- Collect a list of professional portfolio items you can share, and post them on the appropriate sites. For example, if you have developed PowerPoint presentations, load them onto SlideShare.net with your name all over it. If you wrote articles, then publish them on EzineArticles.com. If there are videos of you, put them on YouTube.
- Now, link as many of these shared portfolio items together as possible. Link your Slideshare to your LinkedIn, link your YouTube video to your Slideshare, and so on. Link your eZine article to your LinkedIn profile. Create a web of links tying together all the places where you are putting yourself out there.
- Establish as many online portfolios as you can. In addition to LinkedIn, and VisualCV.com, you can set up Xing.com, a Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, Plaxo, Biznik.com, and hundreds more. Google indexes all of these.
- Don’t make a blitz run at this. Consistency over time wins with SEO. I suggest doing one of these activities per week over the next several months or even making this an ongoing part of your Career Management Plan.