Erasing negative search results is one thing. Creating a positive set of results is another exercise, and it might require more effort.
Here are four quick tips to boost positive search results when applying for a job.
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1. Claim Your Domain Name
Even if you don’t have a professional purpose (or a personal desire) for a self-titled website, reserve your domain name to keep someone else from abusing it. That’s especially true if you have an uncommon first and last name.
If your name is shared by many other professionals around the globe, consider distinguishing yourself. James Smith, for example, could have an easier time showing up as James O. Smith. If you switch monikers, make sure to be consistent with it on all your job application materials.
When creating a website or blog, implement basic search engine optimization practices. Include the keywords you’d like to rank for — “Student Loan Hero Andy,” for example.
Linking your website to your social media accounts will also help Google connect the dots of who you are and how you want to be represented online.
If you’re like most people and skip past websites’ terms of conditions and privacy policies, follow a safe rule of thumb: Only post content to websites that allow you to set your privacy preferences. Otherwise, what you share with your friends could be shared more widely than you think.
3. Consider Paying for a Complete Makeover
You can do a lot of cleaning up of your online presence at home. But if you prefer professional help, that option exists.
Scroll through website services like Brand Yourself and Reputation X to see what they can do for you. Just be sure to review their free resources before agreeing to pay for something you could do yourself.
4. Set Up Alerts and Perform Routine Searches
You don’t need to feel silly about searching for yourself online. It’s the only way to discover results you might not want to share with your next employer.
To be even more proactive about your digital footprint, set up a Google alert with your name. This way, you’ll be notified via email when your first and last name hit the web.
Anything you say or do can be used against you in a limitless, 24-hour-a-day digital space that isn’t known to be forgetful.