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How to Differentiate a Common Name Online

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a unique name like Ashton Kutcher. People with unique names are lucky when it comes to job searching and can much more easily rank in Google and build an online reputation. However, if you have a common name, like John Smith or Sarah Jones, don’t fret. You can still differentiate yourself online. Just do the following:

  • Use your middle initial. Your middle initial may separate you from all the other Johns and Sarahs. But keep in mind that, after you begin using your middle initial, you must use it everywhere to make this tactic work, including in your LinkedIn profile, website address, account profiles, business cards, and so on. In essence, you’re rebranding yourself.

  • Use your degree or professional license or certificate. Sometimes your middle initial won’t work, so including your professional credentials, such as CPA, Leed Certificate, LPN, or NCC, is another way to differentiate yourself. For example, someone else with your exact name may use the same initial for her brand as well.

    Not to worry. You can always further narrow down the search by branding yourself with your degree or specialty. Those three-letter abbreviations after your name really do come in handy sometimes.

  • Create your own search button. Going forward, you may as well assume that prospective employers will Google you. So rather than wait for some random hiring manager to type your name into Google and struggle to find anything relevant about you, why not give him a search button you’ve designed to return the most accurate results?

    You’ll save him the time and hassle of trying to find you. After you create a customized search button, you can include it with your job application and e-mail signature.

    You can use Vizibility to create a SearchMe button. This button helps you design your own Google search results page. You tell the tool what you want the search results to include, and then it creates a search query that produces those results. When someone clicks on the SearchMe link, it sends that custom search query to Google and delivers the results you designed.

    In other words, the SearchMe button is a specialized Google search query with predictable results that helps your searcher save time.

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