Google Me: How Your First Impression Online Is Crucial To Your Career

As a Career Branding Specialist, Niels Reib help professionals attract the career they want and deserve through Authentic Career Branding, so they can unleash their full potential and live a more fulfilled life, doing what they love with less stress and more to give to the most important people around them. With his mix of Scandinavian humility and American confidence, Niels has helped and inspired people to showcase their professional skills from Denmark to Los Angeles.

Your first impression online is increasingly becoming more important than your first impression in real life when it comes to your career, since your online presence can determine if you’ll be invited in for an interview and get that chance to make your real first impression.

Some time ago I received an email from someone in my LinkedIn network. When I read the email there was no doubt in my mind that she was super passionate about what she wanted to do in her career. She was very frustrated by the fact she never got called in for interviews when she applied for positions that would give her opportunity to work within the field she wanted to work in.

Even though we were connected on LinkedIn, I didn’t know this person personally. So, when I finished reading her long email I did what anyone else would probably do. You guessed it! I Googled her.

Right then and there I saw why she might have a hard time getting interviews. In the top five results on page one, there were three critical hits on her name. They were all comments on different websites, all written in capital letters using very strong and explicit language. (I would have given you an example of the language, but it’s not suitable for this)

According to a survey from 2013, we spend 2.5 hours a day online on average and that number has only gone up since then. The result leads to leaving multiple online footprints for headhunters, recruiters, future employers, and even potential dates to find out things about you.

According to a survey made by CareerBuilder in the spring of this year (2016), 60 percent of employers admits to using social media channels to research potential candidates, some industries that percentage is above the 70 percent mark.

For those of you who are already in a job should also know that 26 percent of employers have researched current employees and found content online, which have led them to reprimand or fire them. So it’s needless to stress the importance of having a great or at least a good online reputation and so you don’t end up shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to your career (or dating life). If your online presence doesn’t match your resume and application, you’re more likely to get your name in the “no go” pile than to be called in for an interview.

Like my good friend and Online Reputation Expert Wayne Denner, says:

It’s what you’ve posted in the past that will come back and haunt you in the future.

This makes total sense when 49 percent of hiring managers have decided not to hire someone based on their online presence.

These are the top reasons why hiring managers didn’t hire a candidate from the survey: 

  • Provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information – 46%
  • Information about candidate drinking or using drugs – 43%
  • Discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender, etc. – 33%
  • Candidate bad-mouthed previous company or fellow employee – 31%
  • Poor communication skills – 29%

So in order to set yourself up to unleashing your full potential and reaching your career goals, you should make sure your online presence and reputation are as great as can be.

To help you on your way here’s a few action steps to clean up your online rap: 

  1. Make sure your Facebook and other social media settings are set to be as private as you feel necessary. Don’t let everyone get access to your pictures, posts, etc. Another thing you can do is to approve whenever someone tags you in pictures and posts.
  2. Every time you are about to post something anywhere online you stop and think before hitting that share button.
  3. You should do a Google search on yourself and plow through at least the first five pages to see if anything shows up that could hurt your future chances of getting hired.
  4. You can set up a Google Alert with your name. That way you’ll get a notification email whenever your name shows up in Google.
  5. If you come across something you would like to have removed online, then you can always try to reach out to the Webmaster at the site in question and have them remove comments etc.

As our time spent online are increasing and our online presence is becoming more important when it comes to our future career opportunities, it’s important to be more aware of our own online reputation and how we come across whenever someone out there should look us up on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other social platform.

Need to find out how your online reputation ranks? Take this Career Brand Test.

READ THE SERIES : Attracting Opportunities By Career Branding

Career brand test.

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