Have you “googled” yourself lately? If not, why not?!
Potential employers, clients, and business partners will definitely “google” you before deciding whether to hire you or work with you. If that is not motivation enough, you better believe that potential romantic partners will also look you up online to check you out!
After you “google” yourself, you might find that you do not seem to exist on the Internet (i.e. nothing comes up for your name), or you might not like what you find.
Search engine marketing is well outside of my marketing/business expertise, but I do know that social media web sites rank very high for google search results. Here’s some proof. When I “googled” myself yesterday, here were the first 4 results that appeared. Notice that they are links to my LinkedIn profile, my “Career Muscles” blog, and my Facebook page.
Here are 6 easy ways you can take control of what someone sees when “googling” you:
- Buy the domain name for your name (i.e. johnsmith.com). This is important for 2 reasons. First of all, it prevents someone else with the same name as you from setting up their own page at this address. Secondly, if you have web site design background, you can build a basic web site that positions you the way you want to be seen. Note: if the domain name for your name is not available, consider getting a domain name that includes your middle initial or middle name.
- Clean up your Facebook page. Facebook also ranks very high when someone searches for you online. As I have written before, employers will definitely be checking you out on Facebook as well. Keep your Facebook page set to private, and be sure that you remove any unprofessional pictures, quotes, comments, or wall posts.
- Use a vanity name for your LinkedIn page. After you create a GREAT LinkedIn profile, you can modify the web link for your profile and create what is known as a “vanity URL” to make your LinkedIn profile more searchable for your name. See below for a screen shot for my vanity URL, along with where you can edit your web link for your LinkedIn profile:
4. Set up a blog at yourname.wordpress.com. As I have written before, blogging is a phenomenal way to strengthen and demonstrate your written communication skills. Potential employers and clients will be impressed IF you produce high-quality content. If you incorporate your name into your blog, your blog will also be very likely to pop up in search results for your name, like it does for me.
5. Create a Twitter account for twitter.com/yourname. Twitter also ranks high when someone searches for you online. Just make sure your tweets are professional and that they add value to people who follow you. My Twitter account shows up for me on page 1 of search results for my name (see below), and many of my tweets show up on subsequent pages of my search results. Since my tweets are high-value and since I have a great headline on my Twitter page, my online identity is enhanced yet again.
6. Upload a few video testimonials on You-Tube. I saved the best tip for last. Get a flip camera (a high-quality HD camera is only $100-$200 these days), and get several 30-second video testimonials from bosses, colleagues, or customers. Then, post these videos on YouTube with titles like “Testimonial for John Smith from ABC Company.” I recently posted a video from a student who attended a presentation I made last month at Stanford University. Now, the following shows up on page 1 when someone “googles” my name:
There are all sorts of additional ways you can take control of your online identity, but applying the 6 social media secrets above will significantly improve your “google juice” and make you look much more professional and impressive online. Looks matter! Take control of your online identity NOW!
-Career Expert and Professional Speaker
-President of Idealize Enterprises
P.S. I speak about career success to students and young professionals nationwide. To learn more about my programs and speaking availability for The 2011 Dream Job College Tour, please send an email to Pete@IdealizeNow.com.