The First Step to Job Hunting or Networking? Google Yourself!

This month, I’ve been exploring the topic of online presence. (Check out my Facebook & Twitter accounts for some of my most recent tips and updates!) In this blog, I’m particularly focused on online presence as it relates to job hunting in what I call “The Age of Transparent Networking”.  I bet most of you stay current with your online reputation by regularly Googling yourself but if not, it has now become essential as a way to manage your reputation online.

When I googled myself for the first time several years ago, I discovered about a page worth of information on me.  Now, not only is there a lot of information on me, but what shows up in a given search also depends on a variety of factors:

1.  Who is searching?

2.  What are they searching for about me?

3.  Have they found the real me, and not some other “Jenny Capella”?

4.  Google algorhithm changes and more!

Will the real Jenny Capella please stand up?

Knowing what is said about your online presence is an essential part of your professional networking strategy. At one point, I was surprised to see an array of search results for “Jenny Capella” when I simply used the search engine on my own name!  I had no idea there were so many of us in this world, even considering the atypical spelling of my last name.

Suppose a new business contact were to Google me before a networking appointment. They go online and discover the wrong Jenny Capella and therefore, receive completely inaccurate information. At best, we’d decide to meet and he or she would bring up information that I could correct. At worst (depending on what they read) they could choose not to meet with me altogether and spread false information with others.

This is an exquisitely hyper-connected planet and if you don’t think your online presences could impact you in networking, I urge you to re-consider. Here are three easy steps for being proactive with your online reputation:

  1. Read through every listing on each page that shows up on Google about you.
  2. Coordinate with search engine experts to have the best – and most accurate — content moved to the first page or implement other easy SEO tactics. Many of these professionals can also assist you with errors associated with your name.  (See my FB and Twitter post this month for some great online presence monitoring tools).
  3. Contribute to your own online content by blogging, writing white papers, or pursuing any of a number of creative online projects.
  4. Have a current LinkedIn profile—those often show up at the top of search results and can help deflect any negative things that may incorrectly appear about you online.

Many companies hire public relations firms to handle this type of research and strategic positioning. But you can be your own PR firm — Google yourself and grab the online reigns!


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