Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Controlling Google Search Results Essential For Job Seekers

In a world where recruiters are increasingly relying on social media to vet candidates early in the selection process it is critical that a job seeker understand and apply principles of branding to his or her life. This morning I received an email from a friend seeking help:

"My friend is [name removed] and he has a slight problem. He was involved in a negative situation in his past job and is now clear of the incident with one exception: if you Google his name you will find several undesirable results which he is very adamant about removing or lowering in rank.
Can you think of a way to help him with this issue?"

A common problem among modern job seekers are inconsistencies between information easily accessible to recruiters on search engines, social networks, and other social media outlets and their resume or in-person presentation.

The best way to take control of your personal brand and publicly available information is to generate consistent content making use of your name in outlets that matter to your industry. This takes time and daily effort; there is no quick fix. Outlets with particularly high PageRank - the system by which Google categorizes relevancy and importance in search results - are LinkedIn, Google Profiles, Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo, Meetup, and BlogCatalog. Use these sites to create consistent profiles and begin taking search ownership of your name.

Generating relevant content such as blog posts, leaving comments on industry publications, and regularly updating social network profiles will help maintain and increase the search ranking of desirable content.

The lesson to be learned and applied to brands is simple: do not wait until you have an immediate need to understand your online perception. Regardless of whether you represent yourself (personal brand) or a client's brand, you must create consistency in visibility between experience offline and information seekers online.

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