Your personal online reputation has a much bigger impact on your job search and career than you may know. Potential employers, clients/customers, and network connections use search engines to check you out.
Most online reputation management articles are focused on businesses and their online reputations. Personal online reputation management is what it sounds like: online reputation management for people.
Personal online reputation management is paying attention to what is visible associated with your name in a search engine's search results and doing your best to positively impact what is visible at the top of search results, particularly the first page of search results.
Google is the most popular search engine, so the first place to focus your attention is on Google's search results.
This is how it works:
Do you know what those employers are finding when they Google you? You should know because not knowing is head-in-the-sand insanity.
These articles in Job-Hunt's Guide to Personal Online Reputation Management should help you understand and succeed:
Using a "clean" version of your name, one that doesn't have someone else's "digital dirt" stuck to it, is essential. When you don't consistently use that clean name, you make it difficult for employers to find you, and that makes you look out-of-date or clueless.
Dick Bolles (author of the famous What Color Is Your Parachute? books) has said that "Google is the new resume," and he's right. But most people are not aware of the issue or how to manage it. This article gives you 7 steps to manage your Google resume.
LinkedIn is credible with Google and very popular with most recruiters, so it can be the starting point and foundation for your personal online reputation management. Claim your "professional" name here, and use it everywhere else in your job search and professional visibility.
The keyword terms you use on your social profiles (and resumes) are very important in determining how often your profile is found by an employer or a recruiter doing a search in LinkedIn or a search engine. In addition, the frequency, variation, and placement of those terms determines how high up in search results your profile appears.
You must Google yourself to see what employers and others, like potential clients/customers and professional network members, find when they Google you.
You have many options for online visibility today. Unfortunately, if you aren't careful, you can hurt your standing as easily as you can help it. Use this "smart offense" and "smart defense" to monitor and manage your online reputation.
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 Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.