"The internet never forgets" is an often-heard quote. When people look you up, it will benefit you greatly if what came up was worthwhile information. This is especially true if it’s a potential employer who Googles you.
It’s embarrassing, to say the least, when a recruiter searches you, only to find funny-looking photos and posts on social media with unprintable curse words. You own what you post; you cannot extricate yourself from such a scenario.
Be sure to log out from your browser. Also, clear the search history and the cache. Google tends to give you a personalized search result when you are the one looking. Logging out makes sure you get to see what the public sees when they search your name. Let’s go!
1. Find and discard all undesired Content
Over the past decade, the number of employers who result to social media as a screening method for candidates has shot to 500%. 49% of these employers who have looked at social media content have been sufficiently unimpressed, and did not offer the job. Social sites can easily make or break you. You might not have cared ten years ago, but today is a different story altogether.
You cannot be sure it hasn’t already cost you a job. Remember that interview you did and had high hopes? You never heard from them again. What went wrong, you wonder. It could be your social media posts! What you post online is like a boomerang; it will come back to haunt you.
This is what you have to do:
Zoom in on any negative results
This is very simple. Key in your name in the Google search tab and see what results come up in social media, and any other site. Look at the results with a critical and unbiased eye. Assume you are the employer and ask if you would hire yourself based on the results. If your answer is no, or a maybe, then you have work to do. You need to redeem your image and fast, before it costs you potential jobs.
Check for any inappropriate material
We tell ourselves that what we post online is private. It is intended for friends and family, or so we think. It is unfortunate that Google’s algorithm can’t separate what is social, and what is professional. Some sites will allow privacy settings that keep them from appearing in search results.
Otherwise, remove or hide the offensive content that may make you look questionable. It would be very embarrassing for you and the company if an offensive photo you took 5 years ago cropped up on a client’s screen. You had forgotten about it, but the internet had not. It may end up costing your company business.
Delete any unprofessional material
Delete anything that could make you appear unprofessional. Those photos that you took during that wild party, remember? The ones you were dancing on the table? Delete! Those political rants on your Facebook wall, those snide remarks you might have posted about your former boss? Delete!
Social media is fast becoming a reliable method for recruiters to use for shortlisting interviewees. You may have all the right qualifications, but your behavior is questionable on social media. If employed, you will be the face of the company and no company wants to be associated with questionable characters.
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2. Create a better brand of yourself
You might think because you deleted that offensive content you are done. You are just getting started! You have to go to step two, which is improving your search results. You have to develop new content now, and your objective is creating an online presence that employers would be interested in. These include:
Your resume - well-written and inclusive of certain keywords that will impress any employer going through your website.
Well-thought out blogs, either on professional matters or personal thoughts. Steer clear of controversial subjects like politics, which are likely to elicit emotional responses from your readers.
Guest articles you have bylined, and that are a clear indication of your expertise. This makes you seem like a serious professional who is career focused.
Social media accounts like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. This shows any potential employers you are proficient with social media, which is useful as a contact-building tool.
Social media biographies that demonstrate your experience and who you are as a social brand.
Relevant videos of you giving speeches in events you have attended. This is especially important if they are events tied to worthy causes.
After generating new content, the next best thing you can do is make it easy to be found on all mainstream social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. Get a vanity URL which simply means having a personalized user name, rather than the user name assigned by the web platform. The URL might be your name, or you can tweak it a bit and add an initial.
If you want your job title or industry to get aligned with your brand, it is possible to use e.g. sandrajonesmarketing. Social media platforms are among the highest ranking in search results, and having a vanity URL will rank you higher.
Create your website. Optimize it with your name and keywords that relate to your career and ambitions. Once the site is up, you can work it to your advantage by:
Linking it to your social media accounts.
Make sure your social media channels links to your name and your website. It is also possible to have buttons that intentionally link your readers to your preferred social media site. This ensures that you maintain a strong online presence.
Owning your Google result.
In SEO, a domain with the same information will pop up on the search results page. Investing in your domain name will push you up to the results page. Information is available on the web on how to go about getting your domain name. A domain name is very convenient in that even if you ever changed hosts, your domain name remains the same. Get a domain name that people will easily remember. A free domain is not as reliable as a paid domain. It won’t cost much, yet the benefits you reap are enormous.
Creating quality content.
This will be a good boost to your SEO. Google’s algorithm is set to rank quality content higher. This means it should be informative, engaging and factual, backed with research. Do not attempt to write anything you have not checked and double checked. A bad reputation will make you get ranked at the bottom. Make sure you only write information that has been tried and tested. With time, you will be the go-to website that people are talking about.
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Your website shows your interests or expertise in a certain field. You can include short tutorials on your blog, or a short video detailing something you are good at. Thinking outside the box will guarantee you traffic on your website. The more traffic, the higher your website is ranked on the Google search results.
The internet is a powerful tool. Used wisely, it can build your career in amazing ways. Used wrongly, however, it can prove disastrous and ruin you. The job market is very small in every industry. Word gets around, and in no time you may find yourself trending on social media, either for the right or wrong reasons.
Be very careful what you post online. You never know who is reading your material or who is looking at your photos. That picture you post smoking something, with a caption that indicates it might be marijuana might cost you later on. It might be all fun and games while posting it, but the repercussions can be dire.
You are who you project to the world! Are you eager to share a few points on making your google results less cringe-worthy? Hit the comments section below!