With Google capturing roughly half of the search engine market share, jobseekers need to be aware of what appears about them in Google’s omnipresent index. With a plethora of articles citing how your online social profile – myspace, friendster or facebook – can have detrimental affects when jobhunting, web users need to be more savvy in attuning their radar to web-based information that can negatively impact on their job hunt. You can’t clear the minefield, but you can lessen its impact by creating a more positive web based persona.
While it is almost impossible to remove sites from Google’s index, here is a strategy that I propose to make your online image more presentable. It involves creating content to generate a more positive online identity. Your first step: create a blog and start posting content. New content is indexed in Google and could counterbalance existing contrary information. At the very least, it expands your online content, and increases the opportunities for positive posts to attain a higher ranking. This essentially amounts to an attempt to re-brand your online identity. Another byproduct of this blog strategy is that it allows you to apply for certain jobs. Yes, some employers have a “no blog no job” policy – Ken previously posted one. A blog gives potential employers the ability to assess how articulate you are, the extent of your written skills, your creativity, or perhaps your sophistication. Your blog compliments your resume.
Your second step: privatize your online profiles. Make your personal information accessible to your network of friends, but make it inaccessible to strangers. Restricting access will stop unwanted information from becoming indexed. Also lock down private sections on your website – like photo albums – so adventurous surfers don’t get there by chance.
Step three: Add to the conversation with insightful comments. By posting comments on articles you participate in online conversations, which allow links back to you personal blog. I cannot tell you how many referrals come from comments I have made. Additionally, comments complement step one, and compliment your rebranding.
Step four: keep up your momentum. Many blogs, podcasts, and interesting websites lose steam over time. Don’t be intimidated by the amount of time you spend online, just be diligent with how you attack the web. If you need, create a roadmap with posting ideas, or invite others to help. Whatever you do, don’t stop posting new content.
These steps, over time, will help replace your previously indexed personality with a new, more job-relevant one. Have any other tips? Post them below.