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 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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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