Do you know what kind of information people are finding out about you online? Do you care? Do you purposefully build your online presence to send the right message? Do you regularly self-Google? Do you know what that is?
If you answered no to any of these questions, you're probably not aware of (or you're ignoring) what an important factor your online reputation is in job search and overall career management. Having no online presence or the wrong kind of presence can make or break your job search efforts.
Are People Googling Your Name?
Since Google is by far the most widely used search engine (over Bing, Yahoo!, Ask, etc.), "Googling" has become the representative term for searching the Web to learn about someone or something.
You are very likely being Googled by prospective employers and clients, business associates, recruiters, and various people determining whether to connect or do business with you. Surveys find that most recruiters and hiring managers routinely run searches to pre-screen, weed out, and eliminate candidates based on what they find.
Job Search 2.0 Has Arrived
Savvy job seekers pay close attention to personal branding in social media and their online integrity, investing efforts to increase their Web presence and cultivate the right online impression of themselves. If you're not doing so, you can't compete with those who take advantage of these latest job search trends.
As powerful as a great resume, a strong online presence is a potent approach to networking and tapping into the hidden job market. Your stellar online footprint will not only boost your credibility, it can accelerate job search and land you where you want to be...faster.
How Does Your Online Identity Stack Up?
Personal branding guru and co-author of the book "Career Distinction: Stand Out By Building Your Brand," William Arruda provides an online identity calculator and offers these 5 profiles to help evaluate your online identity when you type and enter "your name" in quotes (example, "john smith") into your browser or a Google search:
You have no online identity. It doesn't mean you don't exist, but that you remain hidden from those who may be researching you.
There is little on the Web about you, and what is there is either negative or inconsistent with how you want to be known.
You have plenty of search results, but they have little relevance to what you want to express about yourself. There may also be results for someone else who shares your name.
There are some on-brand results for you. Although the volume is not high, the information about you is relevant to your personal brand. It's an easy fix to move from here to the next level.
There are lots of results about you and most, if not all, reinforce your unique promise of value. This is nirvana in the world of online identity. But even if you've reached these heights, there is always room for improvement.
As a basic guideline, Arruda suggests that a professional with 5-10 years' experience should have 50-500 accurate search results; a director-level people manager should have 500-5,000 results; and a corporate-level executive at a major company should have 50,000+ results.