2. Start Managing Your Online Reputation Now-Even If You're Not Looking For a Job.
It's important to Google yourself well in advance before applying for a new job, says Beal. If you do it in advance, you've got time to take down or create new content that might push down anything negative, Beal advises. And don't just Google yourself once-Google yourself often while you're actively seeking employment.
Ideally, a potential employer will find a number of positive results about you, such as projects worked on, LinkedIn endorsements and a Facebook page that shows you in a positive light. The next best thing is "not finding anything about you at all," Beal says. The worst-case scenario, of course, is finding foul language in tweets, Facebook updates about taking a sick day off to party and so on.
3. Hide Personalized Search Results.
When Googling yourself, always turn off personalized search results, Beal notes, since Google doesn't present the same search results to everyone. Instead, the search engine will serve up what it thinks you'll find most relevant, taking into account such things as your location, social network and sites you've visited.
Google recently added a button to hide personal results, which will give you a more objective view of your search results. When you're logged into Google, you'll find it in the upper right corner of the search results pages, as shown here.
4. Look Past the First Page of Search Results.
Most employers, clients or others won't bother looking past the first page of your search results, especially if they find positive things about you on page 1. You should still look at page 2 of your results, though, Beal advises. That's because content on page 2 could suddenly appear on page 1-and if that content doesn't reflect well on you, then you've got an online reputation problem.
5. Own As Many "Slots" As Possible on Google's Page 1.
Search engines perceive such social media sites as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as authoritative, which means content on those sites has a strong chance of hitting the first page of search results for a relevant keyword. To be proactive, set up and maintain profiles on those sites and optimize them properly, says Patrick Ambron, CEO and founder of Brand Yourself, a personal online reputation management service.
While the thought of being on a bunch of social media sites may make you cringe, at least claim your profile and URL, such as facebook.com/yourname. This prevents others from getting that URL and potentially diluting your Google search results, Ambron says. Fill out your social media profiles as completely as possible and link them to each other, he adds. The more you do this, the more Google will see all these links as relevant to you.
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