A key component to any research a prospective employer will do on you is a Google search. Are you staying on top of the information that comes up? It helps if you have a very common name, as the results will be dispersed all over the place, but even so a moderately experienced person with search engine skills will be able to find you. Let’s examine a few areas of interest that can be found through a Google search.
1. Social Media Profiles
These are obvious and will come up first. Social media profiles have excellent page ranks in Google. When I search myself LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter all pop up on the first page; all four in the first eight results. It’s at this time you should examine those profiles, adjust your privacy settings, and make sure no visible content has a greater than PG-13 rating. I don’t believe it is necessary to go into full lockdown mode on your profiles if you do not want to. Just make sure whatever content you freely post or that friends tag you in won’t shed a bad light on you. It’s simple to delete a few old posts and untag yourself from a few pictures.
2. Email Associated Accounts
Over the years your email account has no doubt been associated to numerous websites. Blogs, Forums, News Site, YouTube, fantasy sports, social bookmarking, social media, etc… Google yourself using your email address and get a further idea of what is out there that is attached with your name. Search any email addresses you actively used that could potentially be traced back to you. It’s amazing what kinds of comments, posts and submissions you might find that you completely forgot about. Those are the posts that could leave a potential employer forgetting about you.
3. Personal Website.
If you are in a line of work where it is beneficial to have a personal website, make sure it stays current and up to date. If you have a portfolio of work, make sure you have your latest and best work in it. Make sure all the links work appropriately and your last update isn’t years old.
Managing your online brand is a critical component to the job hunt. If you turn up some information you would rather not be shared, make sure to go through the steps of removing it. This could involve deleting posts, accounts, removing personal identifiers, and emailing administrators to remove content. Be careful with your Internet reputation, as it’s starting to mean as much as your in-person reputation!