Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Does Google Hurt or Help You?

As the father of daughters I can only hope that time drags, but inevitably the dating years will come.  Before one of my daughters even leaves the house on any sort of “outing” I plan on navigating a few of the major search engines to see exactly what type of person my daughter thinks she is leaving the house with.  I do not plan on being the overbearing crazy parent, but there is a difference between trust and ensuring those that you care about most are safe.  

There may be those that find this a little much, but a university recruiter or hiring manager that plans on having any sort of success in their job is going to do likewise.  It would be na├»ve to think that you as a prospective candidate wouldn’t be researched as part of the interviewing process.  An application and brief discussion being sufficient is a thing of the past.  There is too much data out there that is too easily accessed.  Companies know a bad hire will cost them thousands of dollars in separation costs, replacement spending, and lost productivity during training. (Williams, 2013)  Before committing to a salary and benefits, or admittance to a program due diligence will be taken to ensure an individual meets the necessary qualifications and will be a good fit from a values and culture standpoint as well.  

As indicated by the video your web presence can be a positive influence to your personal brand.  How can you use the internet as a tool rather than a hindrance?

Develop a Strategy

The first step is to identify the channels that are out there and what the purpose of those channels is going to be.  

For example I limit my Facebook connections to…friends.  My plan is to use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ for a broader but more professional focused intent.  I still try to be mindful of everything that gets uploaded to the internet that has my name attached to it.  I know that whatever I post while logged into Facebook to a degree is now Facebook’s property.  What I mean is that data is now on their servers and out of my immediate control.  However with LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ I plan, even hope that complete strangers will view it and it will shape their perception of me for the better.  Customize this to your purposes, just be mindful of what settings are in place on your social media accounts.  

Social media is not the only way to develop your personal brand.  Getting involved in specialty groups and extra-curricular activities will get your name out there.  Even if the group has nothing directly to do with your career goals employers enjoy knowing what you do in your free time.  Universities want to know how you contribute as a citizen in your local community.  (Shaevitz, 2013)
Part of that strategy may involve damage control.  Performing a search on yourself may help you identify content that you may not want on the internet.  If you are lucky you can take steps at getting that removed.  An extreme example can be found by the founder of the company BrandYourself, Pete Kistler.  He googled his name to find that others with the same name were ranking high on search results.  The problem was one of these individuals was a convicted criminal and the other was a registered sex offender.  

Demonstrate Knowledge and Skills

Now it is up to you to show the world what you know and how you can bring value to an organization.  There are plenty of articles on sites such as Mashable, Inc Magazine, etc. that will help you understand how you can maximize social media.  A personal website is the ultimate online resume and portfolio that far too many professionals are still not taking advantage of.  There are countless free and convenient options that allows even the most novice web user to create their own site.  Make a tutorial.  Review a book.  Share an applicable YouTube video.  The key is to be a voice among the noise. 




Shaevitz, M. (2013, April 11). What College Admissions Offices Look for in Extracurricular Activities . Retrieved from The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marjorie-hansen-shaevitz/extra-curricular-activities-college-admission_b_3040217.html
Williams, T. (2013, August 9). Why You Can’t Afford to Hire the Wrong Employee. Retrieved from Intuit: http://blog.intuit.com/employees/why-you-cant-afford-to-hire-the-wrong-employee/

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