What do you do first when checking out a company? You probably Google them. What do you think an employer does first when they're considering a hire? They Google them. This doesn't have to be a scary thing, but I bet it is terrifying for some people.
Have you ever Googled yourself? Are you aware of what comes up when people Google you? Typically, it's a Facebook, a Twitter, a LinkedIn, or some other social networking site. That's not the worst thing ever. What IS bad is when the employer clicks through these social links and determines that you're not a fit for the job. 77% of employers Google potential hires. This is a very real thing.
Most employers aren't going to dismiss you if you have a profile picture of you holding a beer. And if they did, would you really want to be working for them anyway? This week, I wanted to lend a little advice to you about how to handle your Google resume.
Every day, you're building your brand
It's important to realize that every Facebook status, every Tweet, every video you post on YouTube, ultimately contributes to building your personal brand. Think about your brand as no different than a company's brand. A company doesn't want bad publicity surrounding their brand; A company doesn't want controversial opinions surrounding their brand. A company wants their brand to be perceived as the best version of itself. The rules are the same for you, especially when being considered for a job.
Stop the pictures of sloppy nights
Notice I say "sloppy." Look, it's not a huge deal if you're drinking and having a good time in your pictures on social media. But if you're posting pictures of drunken makeouts, bathroom trips, etc., it can be hard for an employer to see you as a good candidate.
This goes for both girls and guys. There are a lot of times where I see risque photos of people on my friends list. Unless the pictures are being taken at the beach, there's no need for you to post pictures of yourself where you aren't fully clothed. I've seen some girls in their lingerie- I'm not even kidding- and that's not okay. I've seen countless mirror selfies of guys with their shirt off- and that's not okay either.
Whether you're posting an emotionally-charged political status, or complaining about your job, or even just referencing a song that has questionable lyrics- just keep in mind who could be reading it. I'm not necessarily saying to stop posting your thoughts (although I typically eer on the side of caution), but just know that some employers can be turned off by profanity, political affiliation, or plain rudeness.
When I worked as a recruiter, we were trying to fill a help desk role and I thought I had found a really good candidate. We looked him up on Google, and found his public Facebook profile, where he constantly complained about his customers and how much he hates them, often using curse words to convey his contempt. As a recruiter, I didn't feel comfortable telling him why we didn't want to hire him, so I didn't. A lot of recruiters won't tell you the reason why they didn't pick you, so maybe this is one of them!
Balance is key
A wise teacher once told me, "Hey, it's okay if you have a picture of yourself doing a keg stand at a party. The problem starts when that keg stand is all you have. A picture of a keg stand by itself says things like 'irresponsible' and 'party animal.' A picture of a keg stand AND pictures of volunteer work, links to a blog you run, etc. says 'I've got myself together, but I can still have a good time." That lesson stuck with me. I hope it sticks with you too.
I've said it before and I'll say it again- LinkedIn is so important. That's your online resume. You should have your profile looking as polished as your resume, because often times your profile is all recruiters will look at.
This should be obvious, but you should Google yourself to get an idea of what shows up. If it's questionable, take steps to have it removed. Sometimes you can't remove everything bad about yourself on the internet. At that point, it's time to use tools like Brand Yourself, an online reputation management site.
Bottom line is that you're an intelligent person. Don't you want your potential employer to see that? If all else fails, bury the bad content with good content. Become engaged on social media and create content that reflects your intelligence. If that content gains enough views, it will surpass that drunken mishap that happened five years ago.
What do you recommend for establishing a good "Google Resume?"
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