Have you googled yourself lately? What would google say about you? That you are a great professional?, that your rock climb?, that you are a drunken frat boy/girl with antisocial behavior? Most people pay very little attention to what is published about them on the web and most will recklessly document their good, the bad and the infamous part of their lives in Facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest… but being so non-chalant about the information out there will not help us in our career or our personal lives. It can even affect your credit score. Dispel your illusion than your personal and professional lives are separate.
As more and more companies use some sort of social media background check, it has become increasingly important to own what your presence is on the web – you need to take control of your personal brand. These are the first five steps to take:
1) Define your personal brand – what do you want to represent?
2) Google yourself and figure out how far from your personal brand you are – document what you find, and your ranking in the page. Identify possible issues – somebody with the same name a rapist? A convict? A novel laurate?
3) Visit your Facebook page as a friend – what does it show? What are your security options? Are there photos of you drinking? Doing something stupid?
4) Take control of your name:
a. Buy your domain name (if available) and establish a web presence for your brand.
b. If you haven’t. Create appropriate profiles in all relevant social networks: Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, Plaxo, etc.
c. Register in all appropriate professional associations.
5) Update or establish your online presence
a. Update all social networks with relevant information (remove everything that doesn’t fit your brand)
b. Start a professional blog - keep it updated
c. Visit professional forums and blogs and leave opinions and tips, be sure to add value to the conversation – use your real name for all professional forums (nobody knows who dirk117 is)After a few weeks of this, google yourself again and check if you ranking or your presence have improved… keep at it. It takes time to build the online presence that you want.
BTW, let me know what you find about yourselves.