A Job Hunter’s Guide to Personal Branding

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A Job Hunter’s Guide to Personal Branding

The world is changing and so is how you will be hired for your next job. A likely scenario for the average person looking for job in today’s work is as follows: You will probably submit your resume to job sites like Indeed or Monster. If you are lucky enough to be pulled from the list of thousands of other applicants, the company will then search the internet for everything surrounding your name. Should something negative be found in the search results, you name will be thrown out and they will move on to the next applicant. The cycle continues until you clean up your online reputation.

It’s really not your fault for what appears at the top of the search results and for what you’ve posted on the internet years ago and didn’t know much better. However, it is your fault for not taking the time to realize that you can do something about it.

“Forward-looking companies recognize that they have to go online to hunt for talent.” – Jeanne Meister, partner, Future Workplace (Source: CNBC)

In this article we are going to highlight some of the best ways you can make your personal brand look amazing online, while also giving you some tips and solutions for removing those negative listings in Google that you probably don’t want your next potential job to see.

Personal Branding

Personal Branding Tips to Get You Ahead

If any of the above mentioned applies to you, there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you have a unique name, then the process will be even easier for you to accomplish. If you have a more common name or share one with a mega celebrity, the process may be a little bit harder. Either way, if you take the necessary steps that we recommend in this article you will be on the path to a much better online reputation.

1. Create an Online Resume

There are plenty of ways that you can create an online resume. It’s not enough just to have a resume in a word document that you send to potential jobs hirings, you should also have your information online as well. One of my highly recommend resume sites is Completed.com, (which is a division of Brand.com, whom I’m currently working with) and you can see an example of my profile below. The site is completely free to use and it will walk you through the process of how you should write your content so it ranks at the top of the search results for your name. The site is also great because it allows you to highlight all of your achievements, education, career history, and more. You should also make sure you are setup on LinkedIn. These are two sites that will rank very well for your name in the search results.

Completed Job Resume Site

Source: http://www.completed.com on 2/19/2014

2. Secure Your Name as a Domain Name

If you haven’t already, you should secure YourName.com as soon as possible. There is only one domain name for every word or name in the world, and it’s very likely someone already has the same name as you. If it’s not taken, make sure you grab it while you still can. If the .com is not available, try to secure the .net or .org. This domain name can be used to set up a web site or blog that you can use to further grow your image online. Having a developed site with your own domain name is a great way to secure a top placement in the search engines.

Personal Branding

3. Create Strong Relationships Online

It doesn’t matter what type of industry you are in, the more people you know, the better off you will be. Take a look at Facebook and LinkedIn for example – the more connections you have, the more people you are in contact with. This also means the the more likely they will be able to connect you with another influential person or be able to personally recommend you.

Personal Branding

How to Clear Out Negative Search Listings Around Your Name

So what can you do about all of those pesky pictures, social network updates, and blog posts that you might not want people to see when they search for your name?

Personal Branding

The good news is that once you implement the practices above you will already get the ball rolling for cleaning up your online search rankings. In addition to the above tips, you should also create a profile page on all of the other major social networks such as Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.

Be sure to keep these accounts clean and only with pictures and information that you would want a potential employer to see. Since all of these sites are already extremely established and have a lot of links pointing to them, they should rank very well for your personal name. Also be sure to share your pages among your other social networks and bios, and this will help them rank higher as well.

The problem of negative articles and content ranking in the search results isn’t a concern for just college students and people looking to find a job, it expands across all industries and even to the executive level. My Brand.com co-worker Mike Zammuto had the following to say about the issue:

The question is “what can business leaders do about their online search listings?” The first and most obvious step is simply to get a feel for what those search engine listings actually say. Awareness is key, and Zammuto encourages businesses to set up protocols for regularly monitoring their search engine results. – Denver Post

If you have content ranking in the search results for something that is out of your control, you still have a few other options. The first is to try to contact the web site directly and see if they can remove the content. If not, you can hire an online reputation management company to try to suppress the content with other articles or content that provide real value. If none of those solutions work, you can use de-indexing to remove a false, negative, libelous listings across Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

The easiest way to keep a clean and reputable personal brand online is to make sure you always think before posting anything on the Internet. This is especially true if it’s on a website that you don’t have personal control over.

By using the tips and methods we’ve listed above, you will have a much more powerful and impressive brand in no time. The next time a company is hiring for a position and they see your quality websites and resume information posted online, you will be much more likely to receive that call back for an in-person interview!


Image Credits

1. http://completed.com on 02/19/2014

2. Faithie via Shutterstock

3. Shay Yacobinski via Shutterstock

4. Rangizzz via Shutterstock

5. Sylvie Bouchard via Shutterstock

Zac Johnson
Zac Johnson is a online marketer with 18 years of experience and currently blogs at ZacJohnson.com and Blogging.org.
Zac Johnson
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  • Tom

    A blog based on your career interests is effectively a portfolio of the internet age … so start one if you haven’t!

    • Zac Johnson

      Definitely. Creating a blog of your own is the best way to build out your personal brand while also securing that number one spot in the search results.

  • Karan Rawat

    Currently I am having my resume with linkedin but i like that future idea “Online Resume or Portfolio” so i am creating my resume with Completed.com in another tab.

    • Zac Johnson

      Great, I bet it will rank right at the top of the SERPs for your name.

      • Karan Rawat

        yes hope so but.. right now linked is doing the same for me..!

  • James Halloran

    Excellent advice, Zac! I think a lot of young professionals don’t consider checking how they look online simply because they think there’s nothing there. Even if that’s the case, having nothing there is still sometimes problematic.

    You risk your professional name getting confused with other people online that could have defamatory mentions like you said. That could essentially cost you a good job opportunity. That’s why it’s important to build out a blog and connect it to your social profiles in order to rank.

    Thanks for the tip on Completed! I just started one not too long ago and it’s a very nice platform.

    • Zac Johnson

      Agreed. Completed.com ranks very well for my name and is quick and easy to setup, so everyone should at least create an account for their names while they still can.

  • Sohail Qaisar

    Nice tips for personal branding 🙂

  • Zoey Louise

    Very helpful tips. Honestly I just resigned from my job and will definitely apply what you’ve given.

    • Zac Johnson

      Here’s to finding an awesome job and improving your online brand and first impression in the process!

  • Alesia Krush

    Zac, that was an enjoyable read!

  • Rahul Chouhan

    Nice post .. Mostly all the things are new and unique and i never hear them before. So thanks for sharing

  • Romano Groenewoud

    This can be defined as the first level of SEO where a person has been optimized as a searching tool rather than a product.Nice article thanks for sharing with us keep up your good work.

    • Zac Johnson (@zacjohnson)

      Thanks, glad you liked it. All of these methods are fairly simple to setup and if you share the links among your social profile you should see them rank nicely as well.

  • David Brownley

    Great Advice Zac,

    Another way of doing this is to create your social profiles too, looking at Klout/Quora/About.me as well as Linked in this will help stack the first page results in your favour with sites YOU control. Another one is obviously Google Plus listing in your own name and alt texting professional images for image searches.

    • Zac Johnson (@zacjohnson)

      The more social profiles and sites you can setup, the better. Even if you aren’t trying to get a new job or own the whole page of the search results, it’s still a good idea to secure your name so no one else does.

  • Csilla Incze

    I actually created an online resume for a Facebook contest, I used a free blogging platform to set everything up, instead of Completed for example, because it leaves more room for creativity – if your resume is the same as everybody else’s then how will you get seen in the crowd? If course I still have LinkedIn and everything, but you might also want to think about this option for your online resume.

    • Zac Johnson (@zacjohnson)

      Good idea. You could also use all of the other social sites like Twitter, Completed and LinkedIn to link back to your original resume site which would help it rank even better.

  • Ellory Wells

    Zac, great post! Sorry it took me so long to get to it.

    I wish more people took their online personal brand seriously. While I’m becoming jaded with LinkedIn and it’s tools, I think it’s still one of the best places for professionals to connect.

    Thanks for sharing!