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Kevin Donlin

Jamie Hutt, StarTribune.com

Job Hunting? Go Google Yourself

  • Article by: Kevin Donlin
  • Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • August 11, 2006 - 4:57 PM

Employers hate to make mistakes when hiring.

Which may explain why a growing number of hiring managers now search Google for information on potential candidates before making a job offer.

(To Google yourself, just type your full name into Google.com and see how many, if any, Web pages mention your name. This is also known as "ego surfing," but hey -- you get a free pass here. Call it research instead.)

According to a recent survey of 100 executive recruiters done by ExecutNet, 77 percent of recruiters reported using search engines to find background data on candidates. Of that number, 35 percent eliminated a candidate because of what they found online, an increase over the prior year's total of 26 percent.

Yet, relatively few job seekers take the time to research their own reputation before interviews.

Of 136 executive job hunters surveyed, the vast majority (82 percent ) expected recruiters to check their names out on a search engine. But only 33 percent actually searched for information on themselves, to see what employers might see.

Here are four tips to help you Google yourself, so you can find out -- and manage -- your reputation online. Doing so can prevent that next job offer from going to someone else ...

1) See What's Out There

Find out where you stand now by searching for your name on Google.com, Dogpile.com and Yahoo.com, as well as any other search engines you think might be used by potential employers. Then, check your name about once a month to see if anything new appears.

2) Do Yourself No Harm

When blogging or posting comments on a Web site, or creating a social networking profile on sites like MySpace.com, think before you type.

Do you really want potential employers to read that your hobbies are beer bongs, gambling and knitting exciting underwear?

If not, you're better off not posting anything. Or, if you feel compelled to share your quirks with the world, post under an assumed name. Because anything found on the Web can be used to judge your character when you are being considered for a job.

3) Remember That E-mail Is Forever

Just as you wouldn't post sexist or racist remarks on a Web page, you should never send an e-mail you wouldn't want the whole world to read.

Because today's snarky comment could burn bridges for years to come, if that e-mail message is forwarded and read by others in your industry. Just ask Dianna Abdala.

She's a Massachusetts attorney who learned this lesson the hard way. (Search Google for the phrase "Dianna Abdala" and follow the links.)

You'll learn how one e-mail, in which she traded insults with a hiring manager, was forwarded on, and on, and on, around the globe ... until she found herself featured on CNN, ABC News, Nightline and The Wall Street Journal as a poster child for how NOT to make yourself employable.

4) You Can Handle The Truth

If questioned by an employer about something you posted online, take responsibility and put the best face on things. Explain how you are now a better, smarter potential employee because of what you learned from an ill-advised Web posting or e-mail message.

To learn more about how to respond to negative online publicity about yourself, search for the topics "crisis communications" and "crisis management" at Google. There are plenty of articles to guide you.

Here's hoping these four tips will help burnish your online image and get hired faster!


Kevin Donlin is President of Guaranteed Resumes. Since 1996, he and his team have provided resumes, cover letters and job search help to clients in all 50 states. Author of "51 Ways to Find a Job Fast -- Guaranteed," Kevin has been interviewed by USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, CBS Radio and many others. As a reader of this publication, you can get a Free Job Search Kit ($25.00 value) at the Guaranteed Resumes Web site - www.gresumes.com

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