If your name is Michael Jackson, Leonard Nimoy, Lindsey Lohan or Mark Twain, you might as well skip this article. It doesn't apply to you.
It may seem rather ironic to some people that I'm talking here about online reputation.
Last week I totally trashed the idea that the majority of HR pro's are sniffing around in your Facebook profile, - in order to get a glimpse of you in some awkward moment, making a politically inclined or insulting status update, or perhaps just seeking a swimsuit shot to decide whether you were enjoyable employable. Mostly because the evidence suggests most people have eventually found the privacy settings, but also because it's just not that valuable to gawk at boring pictures of you and your family from a selection point-of-view.
Those who know me personally might know about my "Korean Incident" too, and understand that this is something we shall never speak of again.
So it might seem strange that I'm now talking about Online Reputation Management here, but I am, because it's important.
Recruiters WILL Google you.
Any Recruiter knows that to navigate a horrific, clunky "Applicant Tracking System" - the name we give to the black hole that you sent your CV into that one time, is a horrible and time consuming experience - Googling you is much easier, faster and more revealing.
And more effective - because you CONTROL the information on your Resume, but you don't control what's out there in the WILD.
Or do you?
Here are a number of suggestions for optimizing your online profile.
|I hope this never happens.|
1 - GOOGLE YOU
It's obvious to most of us, but if you haven't done it yet, now is the time. Take a screen grab of 3 pages deep and make notes of the percentage of articles which mention you, as well as their sentiment (Good, Neutral, or Ugly). Now do the same thing again, only put your name in Quote Marks. For a really deep search, use your location/city and see how the results vary.
2 - GET VANITY
If you don't yet see the value in Google Plus, never mind. You should open up an account immediately because, well, Google loves G+. Once you've set up your account, then go and fetch your "Vanity" URL featuring your name. There's an absolutely awesome post here over at the search-savvy Wordstream blog on how to do that, including a breakdown of the benefits, including better offline sharing, building more trust and being remembered.
I opted not to use my name but that's not recommended.
Here's my vanity URL gplus.to/TheBlunterHeadHunter
Linkedin is also easy to flip from the generic long number they gave you. Here's a link explaining how to make your URL personal and improve rankings in search. It's so simple. Watch this video by Donna Serdula if you don't believe me.
When I google my name in Google.SG the number one link takes me to Linkedin, which shows how powerful it is. I've got tough competition in the form of a famous actor - Michael Wright.
3- NAMING CONVENTIONS
This is a neat one that usually gets overlooked. Ever noticed that halfway down the page when you google your name there are a bunch of pictures? Google knows to scour the web for pictures that are actually given your name. So when you post a picture you like, and want to be seen - make sure before you do that you actually up it to the web.
4 - BLOG
Even better if you blog. Better still if your blog has pictures of you in there which you have named (See Below) as Google will feel more valid about bringing them up. Better yet if your blog includes your name in the heading. Better still if you tag your posts with your name (Assuming they are not posts about sacrificing chickens)
|Michael Wright, at work.|
5- BE AN AUTHORITY
Show what you know by commenting and sharing posts about subject matter you wish to be associated with. Have long and mutually useful conversations in G+ and Quora which help others find what they are after. SEO is affected by social activity too.