Have you ever done a Google Search on yourself? Any ideas on what you would find? Imagine you have the perfect candidate and client. What are they going to find?
In today’s cyber world, where you are virtually searching for candidates, your candidates are searching for you, as are your clients. You can never be too careful about what is being posted about you. Just because you have tools that you use for ‘business’ and those that you have for ‘personal’ use does not mean that they aren’t cross viewed.
Like it or not, this is the way of our world now. Cameras the size of credit cards that can capture photos and video are everywhere and people are uploading the information for all of Cyber Land to view. Even those X-rated pictures that were taken 10 years ago in university that you thought no one had copies of or even knew about, surprise! And it isn’t just someone, it is ANYONE. Once posted, they are now present for everyone’s viewing pleasure and critiquing.
I am pretty lucky. I haven’t done anything, at least not yet, deemed horrifically exciting enough to deface my name or reputation. When I Googled myself, I found the usual hits that I would expect to appear. There are however, numerous stories of people with more common names that have humourous, annoying or less than desired results returned. Regardless of the reputation you are aiming for, this can affect your identity and/or brand and possibly even your career.
With all that is out there, what is one supposed to do?
First, ensure that you are aware of what exactly ‘your name’ is doing on the web. I would highly recommend that you set up a Google Alert for your name, http://www.google.com/alerts. This will have an email sent to your attention whenever your name, or whatever you ask to be alerted about, turns up on the internet.
If this activity surrounding your name is creating a poor reputation for yourself and causing concern, the best strategy is post new information on the popular sites.Through the creation of more up to date information you may appear at the top of the search forcing the old information lower on the results page. (Notice I said may). Add or create some profiles: Google, My Space, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or even a Blog. There are lots out of tools out there!
Should you care? I guess that is a question that every individual in every type of business would answer differently. All I can tell you is that if you have a strong web presence, you have more control over how your reputation and you appear on the web. If my future employer was cruising Cyber Space to find out any extra information on me, I would definitely want to know what they were seeing. At least then I could be prepared to answer anything that might come up in my interview.
Google your name, take control and be prepared. What you don’t know, could hurt you.
(There are other steps but they seemed like A LOT of work with results that took A LONG time to actually take place. Plus, I am sure that if you were being impacted that negatively, you would look elsewhere besides a blog so I decided not to bore you or insult your intelligence.)