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While you spend time scoping out job opportunities on Indeed, Glassdoor, and even more local job sites, keep in mind that potential employers can be doing the same to you.

As easily as you can search a business, they can type your name into Google and find out about you as well. With that in mind, it’s important to make sure that the search results don’t reveal anything that makes you look like a problematic job candidate.

Hiring a new employee requires both time and monetary investments for a company. Even bringing in someone for an interview requires company resources. They don’t want to make a mistake, which means they may do additional research outside of the interview to make sure you are worth their time.

After all, the internet makes this process incredibly simple.

This means that before you even send out your job applications, Google yourself to discover what businesses will see when they look into you. You may be surprised what posts and pictures you’ve forgotten about.

Make sure search results don’t reveal anything that makes you look like a problematic job candidate.

Here are some quick tips to making sure only the best content comes up when anyone Googles your name. Google yourself now, and save yourself trouble later.

Search Your Full Name

Search full name GoogleBegin by just typing your first and last name into Google’s search engine.

For the most exact results, place quotation marks around your full name to avoid sites that contain only your last name by itself.

Check out the results. How many websites mention you? How many of these mentions are actually you?

If you’re active and public in various communities, this may be something you want to do at least once a month. Even if someone mentions you in passing on a website, your name may appear in search results.

This could be problematic if there are compromising photos on the page or vulgar language in the post. Don’t forget to click on the image search page to see what results appear there as well.

Remove Problematic Content

Remove problematic contentIf an old Facebook photo comes up of you playing beer pong, make sure you remove that image.

Log into your social media accounts, even your old ones, and delete any content that may even potentially scare off employers. This includes jokes that you may have found funny at the time, but have some potentially offensive qualities. Don’t take the risk. Delete it.

Delete any content that may even potentially scare off employers.

This process can be difficult if someone else posted the content. In some instances, you can simply remove tags. However, if that’s not the case, message the poster and politely request that they remove the content because you are job hunting and worry about strict employers searching your name.

This is a reasonable request and is increasingly common nowadays.

Post Positive Content

Post positive contentLet’s say someone has the exact same name as you and tons of unflattering images and posts appear bearing your name. Make it clear that you are not that person and drown out the noise with content related to the good work that you do,

Don’t allow employers to confuse you with any other person. Make sure there are professional pictures of you on various websites, performing work related to your field.

Have a manicured presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

The best way to go about this is by starting a professional blog and social media account. Have a manicured presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. You can share insights on articles related to new research in your field, and go into great detail about projects you may be currently working on.

Make sure your posts are well-written and free of errors, and all areas of your profile are filled out to completion. Think of it as an extended, ongoing interview with potential employers.

Link all of your accounts and sites together as well. Your Facebook should have links to your Twitter, and your Twitter should have links to your LinkedIn, and so on. Every time a page is linked to, it increases the site’s credibility and Google ranking.

You might even want to go as far as purchasing a domain name from Squarespace or Google Domains. That way, employers will have plenty to look at without needing to bother to go onto to page two or three of search results.


By Sabrina Clark, guest contributor

Sabrina Clark, BrandYourselfSabrina Clark is the Director of Marketing at BrandYourself.com, the leading provider of tools and services to help people improve how they look online. Sabrina regularly writes and speaks on the topics of personal branding, online reputation management, product growth, career development, and more. She is a founding member of the Forbes Communications Council, host of BrandYourself’s webinar series, and a staunch canine supporter.

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About Joseph Liu

Joseph Liu is a Career & Personal Branding Strategist with a passion for helping people gain the clarity, confidence, and courage to pursue truly meaningful careers. Having gone through three major career changes himself, he now shares insights from building & relaunching global consumer brands to empower professionals and business owners to build & relaunch their personal brands. At JOSEPHPLIU.COM, he shares resources and tools for people who aspire to make a career change

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