77% of recruiters search for prospective employees online and 35% have eliminated a job candidate because of what they found, according to The Guardian.
Whether you're looking for a job now or in the future or if you're an entrepreneur running your own business, the way you present yourself online matters. A lot.
You need to be in control of that people find when they search for you. This is especially true for those of you in creative fields with portfolios that are online. You don't want that firm looking at your portfolio and finding a blurry, out of date project do you? Of course not! So why would you not make sure that they aren't going to come across a photo of you drinking on Spring Break with friends? While you can't control the internet and it's totally true that once something is online, it's there forever (warning: be careful before you post anything), you can take steps to ensure that the results on Google are flattering and paint a picture of you that reflects who you are.
So, you're ready to manage your online presence?
- Start by searching for yourself and seeing what comes up. If you don't see many results, that means you won't have as much to go through, but it also means that anyone else searching for you can't find you (this might be okay if you want to stay anonymous, but if your target audience or the company of your dreams is online, you probably shouldn't be invisible).
- Start a profile on the sites where people are looking for you. First, you want to start a profile on Linkedin. This is still a big deal when it comes to networking and finding jobs. People are going to look for you there, so you should have an up-to-date profile. If there are specific sites for people in your industry, create a profile on those as well. You want the good information about you to be easy to find.
- Keep everything up to date. If you're Linkedin profile says your last job ended three years ago, that probably doesn't look good. You need to update your profiles every time you update your resume. The more often you add projects, connections, and posts, the better you're going to look when someone finds you. Even if you're running your own business and not looking for a job, updating your profile with your company name and description can help you find clients who might not ever come across your website.
- Get good traffic. Google ranks search results by how relevant they are. There are ways that you can clean up your search results and companies that can help, but the best way to do this without paying someone is to start bringing traffic to what you want people to see. Create a website or start a blog filled with useful information about your field of expertise. Blogging is no longer just for angsty posts about what you ate for dinner. Now, you can use them to get noticed for your knowledge and skills. If you are a creative, get your portfolio online to show what you can do. Not only is it easy to direct someone to your website when they ask to see your work, but you look even more amazing if you have a great looking website to display those projects you're always talking about.