Posts tagged ‘google yourself’

August 15, 2012

I challenge you to Google yourself! [Infographic]

A simple Google search to see what results come up when your name is punched into the worlds biggest search engine – It’s just a smart thing to do. Feel free to head over to Google now to do a quick search…I’ll wait…Did you like what you found?

You may be surprised to know that you are not the only one searching for information about you online. It turns out that just about everybody wants to know more about you, and it’s not just your family and friends:

  • 79% of HR recruiters and hiring managers screen job candidates by reviewing online information about them.
  • 86% of hiring managers have told candidates that they were rejected based on what was found online about them.
  • Even 12% of College admissions officers said that posts which include photos of alcohol consumption, illegal activity, and the use of vulgar language have negatively impacted a potential student’s chances in being granted admission.

Sometimes I think that too much of the “Google yourself often” conversation is framed around the fear of having bad things appear online about you. This fear approach may motivate some, but I prefer to remind people of the opportunity angle. Yes, I firmly agree that it’s a good idea to keep your questionable behaviour offline as much as possible, but it’s also good to remember that hiring managers are looking to find out good things about you too…so they can hire you. This infographic from 2011 says that 68% of recruiters have hired a candidate because of what they saw about their potential hire on social media. Some of these reasons were because the candidates profile:

  • Gave a positive impression of their personality and organizational fit
  • Supported their professional qualifications
  • Showed the candidate was creative
  • Showed solid communications skills
  • Demonstrated the candidate’s awards and accolades
  • etc.

Googling yourself isn’t about vanity, egotism, or a sense of self-importance. It’s about ensuring your online presence is an accurate representation of who you are personally and professionally. You wouldn’t submit a resume without proofreading it, so it just makes sense to take a few moments each month to Google yourself and “proofread” the information available about you online. If you don’t like what you see, you can take steps to remove questionable posts/photos and change your online behaviour going forward. It’s better to start now than to wait until you are actively looking for a job.

For some additional facts, stats, and tips to help you find out what the internet is saying about you, check out the infographic below from www.backgroundcheck.org.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This infographic asks you to log out of Google to get “unbiased results”. It is true that this will disconnect the search results from any information Google has stored about your Google Account. But Google also uses third-party cookies that your browser has stored to customize your results as well. To turn off both of these customizations at the same time, all you have to do is add the simple “&pws=0” URL parameter to the end of your search URL, hit enter, and you will see the results most people on the web will see. The URL should then look something like this https://www.google.com/search?q=Your+Name&pws=0. Big thanks to colleague @erichollebone for sharing the URL parameter tip.

The Google Yourself Challenge
From: BackgroundCheck.org

…And, on a lighter note, a final thought on “Googling yourself” from 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy and Tracy Jordan…

May 10, 2012

Do you do “Social Media Spring Cleaning”? Here’s how I’m polishing up my accounts…

Ensuring that my social media profiles are up-to-date is something I think about often, and speaking with other communications professionals, I know that I’m not alone. The trap that I fall into is that I know I have to update my profiles, but I procrastinate, work on more “pressing issues”, and never get around to it. But this year is different. I’ve decided to put an annually-reoccurring event in my calendar titled “Social Media Spring Cleaning” to force myself to take the time I need to make sure all of my information is clean and current. Here’s what I’m suggesting:

Start by visiting all of the social media profiles you have signed up for. First, you want to get an idea of what you signed up for, and second, you want to see how they look. Read all of the content to make sure that you’re pleased with it. Identify what needs to be changed/updated. Start with the networks you use most often, then start looking for other ones that are less active or you just plain forgot about.

Update your profiles. Make sure your information is consistent. Be sure to add new information from the year past. This is also a good time to take a peak back at what you’ve been posting to see what you have been up to the past few months. You may feel the need to remove some postings that you made that are no longer relevant or are completely off topic.

Delete any old accounts. Consider deleting (or disabling) any accounts that you haven’t used in the past 6 months, or don’t intend on using in the future.

Google yourself. But spend some time and go deeper. Take a full hour to search google images, videos, YouTube. Then go to other sites such as Peekyou.com, pipl.com, wink.compeople.yahoo.com, or zuula.com to search for your online presence. If you can’t find yourself, try including other things people may know about you when searching, like your city, place of employment, previous schools you attended, or friends/family connections. All this can be done for you personally, and/or the brand that you manage.

And I’m happy to report that I do take my own advice. Here’s what I’ve been able to do:

…It took me between 2-3 hours to complete it all.

If you have any other suggestions about what to include in a “social media spring cleaning” exercise, leave a comment and let me know.

April 12, 2012

How your Facebook account can help you land a job [Infographic]

Earlier this year plenty of coverage was given to the new trend of employers  asking job candidates for Facebook passwords as part of the interview process. Obviously, this raised questions about the legality of the request, rights of internet users, and job recruiting ethics.

While I am firmly against sharing social media usernames and passwords with anybody (including employers), I completely support granting hiring managers the same level of access to your accounts as your “ordinary” friends and followers – because if you have something to hide, you shouldn’t post it to your social media accounts, right? This access gives you the opportunity, among other things, to demonstrate to employers how you may be a good fit for their company, something that is often difficult to communicate in your resume.

Curating your social media profiles to be “employer friendly” isn’t just for people with “personal brands” or those looking for a job in the near future – it’s something that we all should be thinking about. But it’s more than just avoiding posting pictures of you partying or doing irresponsible things (Duff Man!). It’s more important to include, highlight, and promote all the good (personal and professional) things that you have to offer. Last year I wrote a post about keeping your social media profiles employer safe. It contains the basics of online reputation management, such as:

  • Never post anything that you would feel uncomfortable discussing in the lunchroom at work
  • Promote the good
  • Don’t brag about, or admit to, anything even close to a crime
  • Monitor your information
  • Remove postings by others that may get you in trouble
  • Etc.

The infographic below tells a story of recruiters using social media to find out good things about potential hires. They actually want to FIND and HIRE applicants, rather than disqualify them due to a questionable photo/comment. In 2012, companies are expected to use social media to recruit for 80% of their openings. This data contradicts the traditional narrative of “social media will get you fired” or “using facebook will make getting a job more difficult.”


Courtesy of: Online Degrees

February 2, 2011

92% of employers say they will “creep” potential employees’ profiles: Like, manage your reputation already, OMG! :P

I was recently interviewed about social media by @alecmiske, a reporter from the Algonquin Times (Algonquin College’s student newspaper). The conversation was mainly focused on how the College uses social media to connect with its audiences and stakeholders. As the conversation progressed, I began chatting about the need for all of us (including students) to actively manage our online reputations: a notion that is pretty simple, very important, and often neglected.

After speaking with @alecmiske for almost an hour, we both thought that a blog post re: reputation management may be of  interest/value, so here it goes…

What is reputation management? I introduce reputation management in the opening hours of the social media course I teach at the college. Here’s the video (Common Craft) I use to provide a quick explanation:

Why should you care?: Two reasons. One – Organizations are desperate for employees who can use social media not only in their personal lives, but also to help deliver on business goals. Regardless of what industry you are getting into (with a few exceptions), experience in the business side of social media will be one of your strongest assets. Two – In a 2010 Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey, 92% of companies who were actively hiring in the next year said that they had used, or planned to use, social media in their employee search.  This is a huge number. You can almost guarantee that what you put online will eventually be put “on file” when you are applying for a job. Here lies your great opportunity to present a professional social media presence to help you stand out above the other applicants.

Kevin Colvin

Facebook photo of Kevin Colvin at a Halloween party after telling his employer he had a family emergency

The bad: Employers have cited several different reasons why they didn’t hire an employee based on their social media profile(s), including inappropriate photos and language, references to using drugs and alcohol, and even using poor grammar – including emoticons :( .  You can find some great examples of “social media gone wrong” if you Google Cisco FattyFavreau Hillary, or Kevin Colvin (pictured right).

The good: Other employers say they have hired employees because they feel that, through social media, the candidate’s profile demonstrated the right personality and fit, supported their professional qualifications, showed creativity and solid communications skills, etc.

In short, your social media presence can make you extremely attractive, or unattractive.

Do you  think you are addicted to the outrageous side of social media? What can you do to make your presence employer-safe? Here’s a 12-step program to help “keep it clean.”

1. Never post anything that you would feel uncomfortable discussing in the lunchroom at work. I often go further and say if you wouldn’t be comfortable sharing with your grandmother, spouse, and boss what you have posted online, then you should probably re-think the post.

2. Don’t post confidential information online, regardless of your privacy settings. Privacy settings change often and are misunderstood. Treat all of your accounts as if they were completely public and you shouldn’t run into any of these problems down the road. The old “I thought I had my privacy settings turned on” doesn’t hold up in a job interview.

3.  Sanitize. If you have explicit photos of you online, have posted inappropriate content, or are friends with the “wrong crowd,” it’s never too late to start to make it better.  Start by removing the offending photos and posts, then let your “friends” know your new approach to social media.

4. Promote the good. Now start posting photos and messages that you DO want the whole world to see. This could be tasteful photos, insightful comments about your industry, reports on local events, or even comments on what you are working on for school or work.

5. Don’t brag about, or admit to, anything even close to a crime. It’s very easy to jump to conclusions online, so even if you are innocent, don’t do it.

6. Remove postings by others that may get you in trouble. It’s not only the information that you post that could damage your reputation. Watch what people post on your profile and remove or edit as necessary.

7. Be considerate when you are posting things. Don’t set out to try and embarrass your friends. It may be funny now, but it may hurt them (and you) when it comes to career opportunities.

8. Monitor your information. Google your name often, look for new photos, see what people are saying about you. If you know what’s out there you can take action if necessary. You don’t know what you don’t know.

9. Don’t use social media during work hours, unless it’s a part of your job. Granted, this one is more of a “keep your job” than “get a job” tip, but still equally as relevant.

10. Be careful as you mix your personal and professional contacts online. Be sure to pause and think that you have to see these people every day, you may not want to be online friends.

11. Don’t disclose personal information that you are not comfortable having in the public domain. This can include your cell phone number, address, full birth date, etc.

12. Understand and raise your privacy settings. Even tough your security settings are maxed out, always assume your information and photos can be leaked. Security settings have been known to vanish during platform upgrades (Facebook), so check back often.

Final thoughts: Conversations that were private in the past are now public online, and it is up to you to help shape how people perceive you. It’s easy to get carried away trying to look cool or seeking the acceptance of peers, but it is extremely important to profile the professional you, not just the party you. Remember, if you can demonstrate a consistent professional use of social media when you are looking to advance your career, you will be a step ahead of the rest.

Go ahead, Google yourself, I dare you…

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