It’s 2005 and I just started with GCS. I was just getting to know my team-mates when one of them told me “you really should check your spelling before you publish a page on your website.”
I didn’t know how to respond. I asked my soon to be friend to explain what they were talking about. He invited me over to his cube, and proceeded to pull up my site. He showed me a spelling mistake on a post I had published a couple weeks earlier. That’s when it hit home, when people are looking to hire, they’re finding out as much as they can before the interview. They want to know how good you are at what you do. They want to get an idea of how you’re going to fit in with the team.
That was when I started Googling myself.
What could people find out about me if they started digging. I used just my name. Back then, I was all the links on that first page of results. Today, I have to narrow the results a bit to find pages that actually refer to me.
Keep in mind if you do see someone else with your name, and they committed a crime, unfortunately that’s going to look bad when they just Google your name. And once a potential manager see that… they’re probably going to toss your chances out right then. What you want to do is make sure you control what the search engines find about you, and rank as the first result.
Right now I’m looking into sites like about.me, flavors.me, and my google profile. My suggestions for these sites is the same as it was for LinkedIn. Fill them in as completely as you can without divulging too much. Make sure you cross link to all your other profiles. This will cause these profiles to appear higher in search results. You want to make sure you are the top result when someone searches for your name.
While reading up on SEO can help to a certain point, don’t obsess over it. You could put in 40 hours a week trying to maintain your results as the top results, especially if you have a common name, John Smith.
You might even want to set up a Google alert to help you keep track of new results for your name. It’s better to know about results sooner rather than later. You can handle them, and get them removed, if the need arises.
What have you found when googling yourself? How did you handle it? What steps have you taken to control the results google returns?