In the pre-Google age, it was common for recruiters and hiring managers to vet a job candidate with a phone call to references. Today, that process is almost quaint. Why bother to pick up the phone when the online world provides access to a wealth of information on many of us, welcome or not.
Welcome to the Googlization of identity, an all knowing eye that makes George Orwell’s Brave New World seem so old hat. Or does it.
As PR and SEO guru, Sally Falkow puts it, “Google has become the new resume,” and used proactively, that can be a boon.
Today if you’re online, the simple fact is that anyone can pry into your life.
“Other people, some of them complete strangers, mention you on their blogs, publish your marathon results on local websites, tag you in photos on Facebook, upload YouTube videos in which you appear. And the stuff they post – true, untrue, embarrassing, upsetting or misleading – becomes part of a permanent worldwide record that can have a devastating career impact,” according to Daniel Solove, a George Washington University law professor and author, as quoted in the March issue of Money.
That’s the downside. However, unlike a Big Brother world where we poor slobs are powerless, the Internet can be a terrific enabler of reputations.
“It’s not the great evil empire out there watching every move,” says Falkow. “The key is that you need to manage your reputation.”
And, in managing your reputation, you have the unprecedented ability to make a name for yourself.
Here is some advice on how to do just that, courtesy of Falkow, who is president of PR and SEO firm Expansion Plus and co-developer of Press Feed, a PR and marketing social media tool (will link to that):
First, Google your name and see what if anything appears on the first few Google pages. If you don’t find anything, or you don’t like what you see, it’s time to get to work. Here are some action items:
• Write articles weekly. Link from your articles back to a page about you. And when you do that don’t fall into the trap of saying, “for more information , click here.” As Falkow says, “You don’t want to be known by “click here” but by your name.
• Start a blog. Be sure to have a page on the blog about yourself.
• Search on Yahoo News for keywords relevant for what you do. You’ll quickly see what publications are writing about topics relevant to your audience. Once you know that, pitch content to the sites.
• Create profiles of yourself on social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook that are readily indexed by the search engines.