|Posted by Tiffany Newton on December 24, 2013 at 2:25 PM|
Whether you’re looking for a job or have one you love, you should manage your online reputation. How do you do this?
Google (and Bing) yourself is the simplest thing you can do to figure out what is out there. First, start simply. Just type in your first and last name. Include quotation marks around your name to get better results if you have trouble.
This will tell you what others will see when they search for your name. Someone else with your name may be ruining your reputation. Employers or possible network connections will see the negative results and be unaware that it is not you.
When I Google “Tiffany Newton” I only see two results that are actually relating to me. Some of the other results that aren’t me link to very undesirable twitter feeds that include very unprofessional usernames and topics.
Next, look for images. On the first page of Google Images after searching my name, I see a very thin, muscular woman in a small bikini – obviously in some sort of weight training completion. I also see some mug shots of a Philadelphia woman named Tiffany Newton. The mug shot might not be the best, but most likely, employers will have my resume and see that my past has been in Missouri and Kansas.
You want to look for photos, videos, social media accounts and posts, blog posts and comments, news articles, and other information. If you see anything that might hurt your chances of getting a job, you’ve got a few options.
Chances are, the name on your resume is the name the recruiters will be looking for. If you’ve found problems with your first/last name combination, try different combinations of initials and nicknames. I could use Tiffany L. Newton, in which case, I found a court case between a Tiffany L. Newton and the state of Iowa that might not be beneficial to me. In the image search, there’s nothing too outrageous. However, if you still find negative results, look for your full middle name. When you find a clean version of your name, write it down. There aren’t many professional sounding nicknames for “Tiffany”, but “William” could be shortened to Will, Bill, Billy, or even Liam. Katherine could be shortened to Katie, Kate, and Kathy. Don’t forget spelling variations such as Kathi, Kathie, Cathie, Cathi, Cathy, Cate, Kate, Catie, etc.
You want to find a clean version of your name, but be sure it’s something you actually like and can see yourself answering to. If you submit a resume with your name as “Billy Smith” but insist on being called William at the interview, the search committee may become confused.
After you find a good version of your name that you’re happy with, use it. Put it on your resume, in your cover letters, on job applications, in your email address, and in your social media profiles, especially Linkedin.
Be sure your username and email addresses are professional. There’s nothing wrong with [email protected]” but it’s not very professional. My username for all my professional accounts is tnewton2011. It streamlines things for both myself and future employers. Yes, I do still have a personal email address and usernames that I use for things like amazon, but I use my professional one for all business transactions, include it in my resume, and on business cards.
It doesn’t stop there!
Check your privacy settings on your social media sites. I like to make my posts on Facebook private to people who aren’t my friends. I am not ashamed of anything on my facebook page, but when possible employers find my facebook account, I want them to be impressed by my professionalism. Of course, don’t post photos of yourself passed out drunk at a party, but be sure to keep your language professional in your posts. If the search committee finds these posts, you want them to reinforce your skills and qualifications for their jobs. Be sure all the photos tagged with your name are photos you don’t mind the entire world seeing. If someone else tags a photo of you that you don’t like, you can remove the tag and even ask that they take down the photo.
Defensive Googling Method: http://www.job-hunt.org/guides/google/defensive-googling-method.shtml
Why Defensive Googling is Necessary: http://www.job-hunt.org/guides/google/defensive-googling-mistaken-online-identity.shtml
6 steps to manage your online reputation: http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/03/14/6-steps-to-managing-your-online-reputation/
Brand Yourself http://brandyourself.com/
Categories: Job Hunting