We’ve all heard stories about how employers Google the names of candidates they’re considering during the hiring process. Most people would agree that what you say and do online can work against you. In other words, if you’ve done or said something that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see, don’t post it online.
But now, according to this article from CNN.com, many of us have put ourselves at risk not of sharing too much, but sharing too little. While it will definitely work against you when an employer Googles your name and finds a picture of you acting the fool, what do you think happens when an employer Googles your name and doesn’t come up with any results at all? Obviously you exist, but why don’t you exist online? Not showing up can be every bit as detrimental as showing up in an unflattering light.
It may seem like it’s impossible to fix this situation. Some of the world’s biggest companies hire SEO firms to gain visibility in the natural search rankings. But you don’t have to go to such extremes. There are a few relatively simple ways you can boost your presence in a positive way.
Google Yourself! – This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t take this simple step. If you don’t know what conversations are happening about you online, it’s difficult to control them. If you find anything unflattering, take the necessary steps to stomp it out. Untag yourself in Facebook photos. Delete unfavorable comments.
Beef up Your LinkedIn Profile – LinkedIn is a great way to boost your credibility online. If you don’t have a profile yet, create one. If you have one but haven’t spent much time on it, there’s no time like the present. In addition to listing your employment history, you can join professional groups and list any special talents you have. The next time you Google yourself, there’s a good chance you profile will show up on top.
Contribute to the Conversation – You can use LinkedIn and other avenues to join groups related to your interests and professional affiliations. Contributing to conversations that take place there can help build your online presence. You might even consider starting your own blog, keeping in mind that anything you say has the potential to be viewed by the entire world.
When building your online presence, it’s safe to assume that the whole world could be watching. Luckily, you have it within your power to present yourself in the most flattering light possible.