According to a Microsoft study, 80% of employers Google their job applicants before inviting them to an interview! This statistic, from a 2010 study, has surely risen in recent years, as more and more of our lives are reflected on the internet. So what can you do to prepare yourself?
Google yourself. What do you find? Probably your Facebook or Twitter, or some other form of social media. If this means that they may also come across pictures or status updates that you wouldn’t show your grandma, you may want to think about protecting yourself. An easy way to combat employers getting the wrong impression is to set your social media accounts to their most private settings and keep all defaulted pictures appropriate. You may even consider changing your account names to something slightly less searchable, such as using your middle name instead of last name or choosing a nickname.
However, employers are just as skeptical to find no results when Googling your name. A solution could be to create a professional networking profile, such as LinkedIn, to ensure that your name is associated with appropriate searches on the internet. Sites like this allow you to control what employers see, which is useful for creating a professional and polished image to help land an interview. It is also reassuring for employers to see some consistency between your resume and your online professional networking sites.
Lastly, mistaken online identity is becoming an issue as there are more and more internet users. Job seekers with common names might Google themselves to find loads of information under their name, but about a stranger! To combat this, Job-Hunt.org recommends Googling multiple versions of your name: nicknames, initials, middle names, and combinations of such are all possibilities. After carefully searching the first several pages of the Google search results, choose the name that has the “cleanest” results. Use this name consistently on cover letters, resumes, and professional online profiles to prevent employers from mistaking you for someone else.