Employers now perform more than just background checks. They perform Google Searches, which can potentially be just as bad if not worse than what may show up in a background check. What will they find when they Google you? Here's five things employers look for when they Google you.
What does your profile picture look like on your social networks? Ideally it should be a professional picture. Avoid pictures that may portray you negatively. This may sound obvious. However, most people fail to remember or realize that your personal life and your professional life are now intertwined thanks to the Internet and privacy is becoming more and more non-existent. As a result, you must be mindful of what images you post of yourself online and on your social networks. Even though it's unfair and in many ways unethical for an employer to judge you based on your personal activities or social media accounts outside of work, the fact of the matter is that hiring managers are humans and they have piles of other qualified applicants. In many ways the Google Search is a process of easily weeding people out. This process starts with the headshot. If you have a common name you may be lucky enough to slip under the radar without employers being able to find you, but if you have an uncommon name, you should pay even closer attention to the images you place online of yourself, as well as the content you create and share.
Size of Your Digital Persona
Nowadays, most people are active online on a variety of platforms. This can really work in your favor or really work against you. If an employer Googles you and is unable to find any information about you, this could be viewed negatively. It won't necessarily count against you. However, if you put some strategy behind your digital persona you could benefit from what employers find when Googling your name by strategically altering the search results. In my book What Next: The Millennial's Guide To Surviving and Thriving in the Real World, I touch on this subject in great detail. On a basic level, I recommend creating an account on Linkedin. Linkedin is highly favored by Google and optimizes well for people's names. If an employer can Google you and see that your resumé matches what you've represented on Linkedin, they will feel more comfortable as they've been able to verify the legitimacy of your resumé. To take things a step further, you need to add connections and request recommendations. Recommendations on Linkedin are condensed versions of reference letters.
Do you have a website? If not, you need one. How great would it look if an employer Googled your name and YOURNAME.com showed up on the first page of Google Search Results? You'd look like a rockstar that takes their career seriously. A website or online portfolio is a great sales tool that works for you 24/7. On your website, you should include professional pictures of yourself, an about page, your current resumé, your career accomplishments, reference letters and anything else that makes you shine. Once created, put your URL at the top of your resume' beneath your name and email address, and just watch how many more opportunities come your way.
Since the beginning of time, employees have been embellishing their resume's. They make little wins sound like gigantic victories. Some people may even "enhance" their job title, roles, or responsibilities. Employers know this which is another key reason why they Google search candidates. They're looking for supporting documentation to verify that you are who you say you are.
References provide social proof that you are valuable and worth dealing with. If an employer Googles you and can't find any reference letters or recommendations they may be less inclined to consider you for the position over someone who does have this information publicly available. I should emphasize that it's not common for people to have references publicly available on the Internet, but it's worth putting out their because it's a big bonus in the eyes of an employer. Instead of asking you for reference letters, they'd much prefer they be publicly accessible from a simple Google Search of your name.
Michael Price is an entrepreneur and author of What Next? The Millennial's Guide To Surviving and Thriving in the Real World. An advocate of ideas for radical change, he has received critical acclaim for his lessons in education, career, entrepreneurship, and personal finance.