It’s important to Google yourself so today I Googled myself for the first time in a long time. And guess what?! I dominate the “Kseniya Martin Charlotte” search. The first page is mine! It wasn’t always like that. I used to joke that I am a ballerina and a famous singer because my maiden name is pretty common; there are a bunch of Kseniya Yakovleva’s out there!
So why is it important? Today, it’s all about online presence and your personal brand. And, it’s particularly important if…
…you are looking for a job. Employers are no longer looking at just your resume and calling your referral sources that you provided them. No, they’re checking to see who you are as a person, if what you put on your resume matches to whatever it is they find online, and if you’re a responsible citizen. They want to see if you’re the right fit for their organization. Give them the opportunity to see who you are. Be honest.
For example: my company is looking for a marketing intern. It didn’t take me long to find social media profiles for most of the candidates that submitted their resumes. One of the candidates had some colorful language that was racists and ageist (to name a few) in his Twitter feed. He never received a call from us.
…you are aspiring to be a leading expert in your niche. If people Google either you or a topic you’re an expert in, you want to show up. Google’s little spiders (or is it pandas?) search the web constantly; do what you can to be on the first result page (and there’s a thousand and one ways of doing that).
…you ran out of or forgot your business cards. Let’s say you’re at a party or a networking event and you don’t have your business cards on you. What do you do?! You should be comfortable enough to tell someone to Google you. The first two results for me are the two social networks that I’m most active on. It’s safe to say you will easily reach me on either LinkedIn or Twitter.
There are other important reasons why you should Google yourself, like privacy and safety. Personal information such as where you live and work can be used against you, especially if you use GPS based apps such as Foursquare to tell everyone where you are at all times.
So what happens if you Google yourself and you find some unfavorable content? You clean it up (and create a lot of favorable content). If it’s Facebook, make sure you have the highest level of privacy settings. You may also want to check your friends’ privacy settings as well, especially if you’re tagged in any of their photos or you’ve written some questionable things on their wall. We were all once young and stupid and that may or may not have been captured on camera and posted on Facebook, or MySpace. Young and stupid may have been a decade ago but that picture is still there, tagged and public, to be seen by your current or future employer and your customers. Untag the photo or, better yet, ask your friend to remove it completely. If cleaning up some accounts may seem like an arduous task, delete and start new. I have had Facebook since February 2005 and with the introduction of timeline I have been able to relive last seven years of my life. I don’t want you to relive it with me… this is why I now have a new Facebook account.
You can also buy Google AdWords to lead people to the sites you want them to see when they Google you. But more on that on another day.
There’s nothing vain about Googling yourself. This song IS about you. It’s like checking your credit score to see if there are any false reports. This is your opportunity to take your Personal Brand to the next level by getting rid of things that may weigh you down from achieving new heights. So Google yourself silly, see what you can find!
P.S. If this all freaks you out, check out WikiHow’s instructions on How to UnGoogle Yourself .