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How to Succeed in the Online Job Search with Really Trying

In your job search, control of the online candidate image that employers increasingly use to judge you as a person as well as evaluate the talent you bring to the table is largely — but not entirely — your call.

Yes, you, the job seeker, are the chief decision maker who rules what goes in and what stays out of an online presence that hangs a halo over your head. But other people, some of them flat-out strangers, also contribute to your image, sometimes disastrously.

Like it or not, others mention you and tag your photos on Facebook. They upload YouTube videos in which you appear. They spill the beans about you on local websites. They tattle on you in their blogs. In multiple ways there’s no escaping the fact that other people impact your online image.

In a salute to changing times, recent studies reveal that employers now regularly check search engine results to decide whether you’re included or booted out as someone they’d like to meet and hire.

That fact is why I include this trio of tips that won’t cost you a dime to put a shine on your halo:

  • Reputation protection. BrandYourself, unlike earlier reputation management services that charged customers thousands of dollars, is free for basic services, which CEO Patrick Ambron explains is just right for the vast majority of BrandYourself users.

    This simple, do-it-yourself service is the only product concentrated solely on helping people control the search results for their name.

  • Expert answers. Quora is a free site that allows you to ask and answer questions about any topic, says Chris Forman, CEO of the online job-search organizer StartWire. You can build admirable professional status by answering questions that relate to your professional background. Grab the keyboard!

  • Name of your game. When you have a common name, such as Joyce Kennedy, you don’t want to be mistaken for someone else online. You can avoid much of the potential confusion by adding a middle initial or name to your online name, such as Joyce L. Kennedy or Joyce Lain Kennedy.

    “Another strategy is to make sure it’s really your information and not someone else’s that an employer is judging you on. Try to keep your profile names consistent across all the social networks you’re on,” advises Dan Schawbel, Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, and author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success (St. Martin’s Press).

    Because there are so many names churning about online, there’s a good chance that the name you want may not be available on all platforms (websites).

    “You may want to use KnowEm, a free site which matches your name against hundreds of social networks so you can see where it’s available,” Schawbel adds

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