Believe it or not, your name is a brand and in today’s world where most first impressions are made online, you better believe that owning your name is more important that it’s ever been.
Let’s face it, if you’re applying for a job, you will be Googled. Your social profiles will be checked, and any compromising photos or negative press found can and will be used against you.
Don’t make it that easy for recruiters to dismiss you, since they’re already looking for any reason to make their stack of resumes any smaller.
Regardless of whether you’re looking for a job or not, reputation management and your personal brand online should be important to you.
You need to stake your claim and start with owning these first:
1. Own your Search Results
What’s the first thing hiring mangers do after your resume has made it past the first round of cuts? They Google your name.
Now, some of you may have been blessed with a unique name, but if you’re like me, Jacob Curtis is pretty common. You can imagine how surprised I was when I checked Jacobcurtis.com only to find a website dedicated to the “cutest baby in the world”born in 1994. This presented a classic case of not securing my name, though this kids parents must have been pretty tech savvy to claim the domain that early.
Owning your search results means creating a strategy to move up the rankings. This can be done in many ways, here’s three to get you started.
- Get a website with your name as the domain and use it to showcase your accomplishments
- Create a blog that you update frequently and are the author of
- Establish yourself on social profiles (see below)
2. Own your Social Profiles
Facebook, Linkedin, Google Plus, Twitter, the list goes on. Owning your social profiles means filling out your bio completely, having a professional profile picture, and most importantly securing any vanity URLS these platforms provide such as Facebook.com/yourname or your Twitter handle.
It’s also a good idea to stay up to date on new platforms being released so you can be one step ahead of your competition in securing your name.
If you’re already established on these channels and have been for some time, go back through to make sure it’s cleaned up. There’s no telling how deep a recruiter will dig to find dirt.
Remember, your name on these social profiles will also rank highly in search engines as most of them have high authority.
3. Own your Face
Yes, I just said that, but I couldn’t be more serious. Aside from your name, your face is your second best feature. I suggest using the same profile picture across all your online profiles as this will help with name-to-face recognition. Also, these images may appear in Google Image search results so keep them as professional as possible.
ProTip: Save the image file on your computer as your name before you upload it to the internet, depending on where its hosted this will provide a small benefit to it’s SEO ranking.
…and please, no logos – you aren’t that recognizable yet.
4. Own your Reputation
Be consistent with how you represent yourself in both online and offline worlds. I don’t care if your Linkedin is nice and polished –you still Tweet like a Pirate, andyour latest update on Facebook says your “your boss is a jerk”. You need to look at your online presence holistically
Even worse, what if you still use firstname.lastname@example.org as your professional email? Don’t let the small things fall through the cracks.
Besides, these inconsistencies will be found and you will be judged on them.
Also, if your dealing with bad press, deserved or not, there is hope, but it takes work. To bring down the stuff you don’t want you’re going to have to build up the stuff you do want.
This goes back to owning your search and also includes asking for testimonials or providing references of your good work.
5. Own the Conversations About You
Believe it or not, people could be talking about you online right now. Are these conversations good or bad? There’s no way to tell unless you’re listening.
At a very basic level you should at least set up Google Alerts with your name as the keywords. An example of this is Hootsuite, which allows you to monitor mentions of your name on Twitter.
Setting up these types of alerts allow you to intervene in conversations going on about you much faster than if you were to just stumble onto them – allowing you to add your two cents and represent yourself. Obviously, unless you’re a celebrity or are in the lime light you may never receive an alert. However wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry?
Owning your personal online brand takes time and is not only beneficial for the reasons above, but nothing says “I can manage your brand” to a potential employer better than having your own brand established.
Do you think it’s important to claim your name online now or in the future?
Do you know someone who has been turned down from a job because of their social profiles?
Or do you know someone who’s received a job offer based on his or her online presence?
Do you even believe that recruiters are Googling candidates?
What are some other ways you own your personal brand online?