Review Your Current Online Reputation during Your Job Search
Before you begin to build up your online reputation for your job search, you need to know just how much work to put into it. Consider this first part reputation triage. You determine what your current reputation is, and then you align it to your priorities.
For example, when you search for your name, you quickly discover how many folks share your moniker. The problem with this name-sharing business is that your prospective employer won’t always know who you are. She’ll just know that a convicted felon gynecologist lawyer from New York may be looking for a job with her. Building your online reputation is the answer.
The most obvious way of assessing where your reputation stands is to simply step into the shoes of a potential hiring manager and Google yourself. When you do so, count how many times an accurate link to you appears in the results in the first three pages.
One of three things happens when you Google yourself:
Information about other people with your name appears; info about the real you doesn’t appear at all.
Nothing related to anyone with your name appears.
Bits and pieces about the real you show up.
If information about the real you shows up more than three times on Google’s first page and you like those results, your reputation has a temperature of 98.6 degrees — pretty healthy. Chances are, however, that good information about you won’t be so apparent in your search results, which means you have some work to do.
Try putting quotation marks around your name to get more accurate results. This tactic tells Google that you want results that contain both your first and last name and in that order. Savvy hiring managers know this trick as well, so you can bet they’re searching for you in this way. Also vary your search based on a middle name or just the initial.
Try seeing whether you can narrow your search results by adding qualifiers like the city or state you live in or a previous job title. The point is to think like a hiring manager who’s trying to learn more about you. Based on your résumé, what information may the hiring manager try to use to narrow his search?
If you’ve ever changed your name, consider that each new piece of content you produce will have the new name. So if you want hiring managers to see some of the old results, you may mention your old, or maiden, name on your résumé. Doing so is a clue for them if they want to dig deeper.
The following list details two additional ways of quickly assessing your online reputation:
Try the Google Grader. The free Google Grader tool available at BrandYourself is a great way to find out the status of your online reputation. After signing up for a free account, you enter your name, and the program provides a page of Google search results. You choose the results that apply and then click the Grade Me button. Google Grader then gives your reputation a letter grade.
Use the Online ID Calculator. Developed by Reach Personal Branding, the Online ID Calculator offers more than just a letter grade; it tells you where you may be deficient and offers some practical suggestions for fixing it. However, the process takes a while, and the user interface hasn’t been updated in years.
After you log in (signing up is free, but you must provide your first name, an e-mail address, and some basic demographic information), the calculator asks you to manually Google your name and enter the results into the form. Depending on the information you enter, the program places you somewhere in a matrix of four possibilities: Dissed, Disastrous, Dabbling, or Distinct.