I learned to Google for information more than a decade ago when I used to collaborate with the National Marketing Manager at one of my employers for preparing our pitch book to prospective audit and consulting clients. We used to come up with information that helped us to prepare strong business cases why our company was the obvious choice over the other Big Four because we used that information to leverage our appropriate strengths and description of the services that we could provide.
The same principles hold for self-google or what is commonly known as ego surfing.
Here’s a recent example. I was speaking to a friend about this and was permitted to do a Google search on their name with a challenge that I would only find them on LinkedIn or Google Plus because they had limited use of social media and did not use the internet enough.
Here are the results which are being shared with permission:
Google the first and last name – the results related to my friend.
Google the first, middle and last name – apart from the first result on the first page of Google which belonged to the person, the rest belonged to namesakes. In fact 7 were on Facebook and the description displayed for Facebook in the Google search was “Call Girl at Work while a Student at XX School”- which we both knew was not true. I know my friend and we went to a different school.
Both results showed private details of my friend on social media sites that we were not aware of and on 1 site we could see the telephone number and directions to the residence. Both results were not updated for the job and as far as the world was concerned, my friend had been in the same job since 6 years with no career progression!
As we used to write with panache after solving Math and Calculus theorem exercises in school
Quad Erad Demonstratum – QED
The hard reality is that just like you have a real-life reputation, in today’s day and age of technology, you have an online reputation too. Just as your real-life brand and reputation is based on people’s perceptions of you, when the internet gleans information about you from your various internet activities, you evolve an online reputation which influences searchers perceptions about you and your brand.
Nowadays, it is crucial for careerists to have an online profile considering the fact that potential employers and executive search firms do Google applicants’ names before they even create a shortlist.
In fact, I read in a recent article that 60% of people Google you before deciding to meet!
79% of recruiters and hiring managers screen applicants by information available online
86% of hiring managers have rejected someone based on information available online
When you meet fellow professionals and exchange cards at a networking event, they form a basic impression about you in the short time of the conversation. Now suppose they decide to get to know you better and want to prepare for a meeting to discuss potential business opportunities with you. Just like the Marketing Manager and I used to Google the prospective client, they too may go online to learn more about you. Whatever they find out can strengthen or weaken their perception about you. If you have a robust online presence that is super but if the information is adverse – imagine what happens next.
That is why it is in your best interest to play an active role in creating information for people to find that creates a favorable perception. Developing and managing an online presence should be an important part of your personal branding strategy. If you want to see what others will find out about you then you should Google your own name from time to time.
Recent EU Ruling
Recently, the European Court of Justice ruled that Google had to accept requests from individuals to delete objectionable search results linked with their names. The exact words of the EU ruling are that Google must remove links to information that is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive.” It has been referred to as the “right to be forgotten”.
However, this does not mean that if you apply, your request will be automatically granted. It also does not mean that if you posted a photo on Facebook during your college days and that you now regret, the removal would be deleted from the original source of the information. At best, it will get buried a little deeper in the internet and just a little more difficult to find.
A better way is to manage your online reputation with care and strategy.
The Self-Google Challenge
For just a few seconds, put aside your thoughts of self-google as Ego Surfing and self-google your name.
Open your laptop, desktop or mobile device and open your browser to Google.com and search for yourself.
Just as I did with my friend, search for different variations of your first, middle and last names.
Scroll through the results and see how many relate to you and how many to other people who share your name.
Dare to go deeper? Search your name with variations of your job positions, companies and terms related to your vocation.
Each time you do a new search, look and see what information about you comes up.
Let’s assess your Google search. Please note your findings:
– Are the results relevant and up to date?
– Does it say who you are? Does it communicate a consistent image?
– Are there important things (achievements) missing?
– Do the pictures/ video support your image?
Based on the results of the challenge, you can make an inventory of the information that you have discovered through your Self-Google and update those areas where you have control or can take quick control, for example Yatedo. For the rest, I have created the Crack the Code to Your Professional Brand & Create an Awesome Online Presence Program
You can get rid of the results you don’t like by creating content that Google prefers over the other articles. This takes time but is well worth the effort.
So, did you accept the Karmic Ally Coaching Self-Google Challenge? What did you discover about yourself on Google? Any insights that made you stop to think?
Please do share in the comments box below.
Written by: Vatsala Shukla
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