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Managing Your Google Resume

By Susan P. Joyce

Managing Your Google ResumeYes, you DO have a Google resume. Seriously!

Your "Google resume" is what Google shows the world when someone does a search on your name.

Recent research has shown that employers and recruiters Google job candidates more than 90% of the time!

If you don't know what a recruiter will find when they do that search, the smartest move would be to do that search yourself!

This is NOT the resume that you submit for a job at Google. This is what Google shows someone doing a search for your name. If you don't know what or where your Google Resume is, read Finding Your Google Resume.

[The term was first shared with me by What Color Is Your Parachute? author Richard N. Bolles in 2009.]

Managing your Google Resume is essential to successfully manage your online reputation (yes, you have one of those, too!).


How to Manage Your Google Resume

Managing your Google Resume and online reputation isn't hard, but it is a new requirement for most of us. These are the basics:

1. Claim your name and present your professional image on LinkedIn.

Build a solid LinkedIn Profile, and add professional presence in other appropriate social media venues -- ALL using your "clean" name. LinkedIn is a professional network, so act appropriately.

2. Consistently use the same name for your professional actions when online (and off-line).

Avoid the mistaken online identity problem by consistently using a version of your name that won't be confused with someone an employer would avoid hiring. Determine and claim a "clean" version of your name.

For effective online visibility, use that version of your name for all of your online professional activities including LinkedIn and other social media, and the name you use in email.

Help people connect your online visibility with you in real life by using that same name on your business cards, name tags, books, articles, directories, and other professional off-line visibility.

Inconsistency makes it difficult to be found in more than one venue which can be essential for making good connections. For example, don't do something like this:

  • William J. Jones on his resume.
  • Bill Jones for his LinkedIn Profile.
  • W.J. Jones in his professional blog
  • BillJ-MBA in his work/business email address
  • William Jones on his name tag in professional association meetings

Yes, if someone is persistent, they can connect those dots, but not everyone will make the effort. Why make it difficult?

If you are hard to find, they may not take the time or be able to find you, and you could lose great opportunities as a result. Instead, consistently use one version of your name so that people who find you one place (online or off-line) can find you in others.

3. Understand that your activities online are being observed.

Possibly your current employer is monitoring your activities, particularly when you are at work. Certainly future employers will be paying attention.

Hopefully, you research an employer before you accept a job with a new employer. Expect that they will do the same thing before they hire someone. They are trying to understand how knowledgeable you are, how well you can communicate, and if you have the "right" personality to fit into their organization.

[I can hear people shouting (or muttering) that, in the USA, the First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees "freedom of speech" which they interpret to mean they can say anything they want about anybody or anything and not suffer any consequences. Not exactly. The First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting or penalizing us for what we say. It doesn't limit others from judging us by what we say -- or what we publish online.]

4. Create positive visibility.

Social media, particularly LinkedIn, provides very effective tools to build positive visibility for yourself. Many other online opportunities also provide you with the ability to create and sustain a reputation that will support your job search and career.

Consider writing you own blog, if you can do it consistently (e.g., once a week or twice a month), or contribute guest posts to sites you respect. Publish posts on LinkedIn's blog, for example.


5. Behave appropriately online.

Your future (and current) manager may see your online activities. Before sharing something, consider if that visibility help or hurt your career?

Operating with the knowledge that you are being observed, understand that a price may well be paid for misbehavior. You may never know about opportunities lost, but that doesn't mean that losses won't happen. Again, you should be doing the same thing when you are considering going to work for someone.

If you must rant or be negative online... use a different version of your name.

Unless your career goal is a job that requires a nasty person, avoid scaring off potential employers, customers, and network contacts, by online ranting and complaining. Preferably use a version of your name that is different from your professional name when ranting. If you must be unprofessional, limit the damage.

If your email address is associated with your rants, use an email address different from the one you use for your job search and career.

6. Know and leverage your keywords.

Understand the keywords that are relevant to your job search and career, and use them appropriately in your professional (not personal) social media profiles and job search documents. Read The 25 Best Keywords for Your Job Search for more details. And learn Personal SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to stay up-to-date.

7. Google your name every week.

Know what employers will find when they Google your name. Learn and regularly practice the technique called "Defensive Googling."

Bottom Line

These are the facts of this new world of technology, constant search, and research. Stay tuned, and pay attention to the articles in this column... Technology will change, and new tools and hazards will appear.

More About Managing Your Online Reputation:

Susan P. Joyce About the author...

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn.

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