If you’re an employer you probably have Googled the names of your applicants (or at least you should have). If you’re the one looking for a job, you should really be monitoring your digital profile.
There is no such thing as “social media” – the term in wrongly used. The term “social media” describes the current state of the ever-evolving Internet. It is the natural progression of technology and begins to bridge the gap between organic life and a virtual one. It is very difficult to avoid this reality. Someone somewhere is going to mention your name or business online and you’ll forever be archived in cyberspace. The approach we recommend is to embrace this, which will give you some control over a “first digital impression”.
You need to evaluate the pros and cons of the type of information that is available to you. Do links that you control show up first in Google or do others control those links? There are essentially two different ways to evaluate this. First being what we’ll call the “active digital people” and secondly the “non-active digital people”.
Active Digital People. These are individuals that have their own website and online profiles such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.. These are the results that will most likely show up in Google when your name is searched. This can be a very good thing because it shows that you understand technology, embrace growing your business and are interactive in the online community. This can damage you if the image you’re portraying isn’t the most desirable for certain positions.
Non-Active Digital People. These individuals have a minimal online presence and perhaps only have two or fewer online profiles (maybe just Facebook). Most of the time your name will only show up for PGA Section tournament results, or if other websites mention your name (example: local newspaper website). This could possibly produce a very negative reaction from employers. They may be wondering if you’re introverted, or hiding something. Perhaps they get the impression you’re not ambitious, or lazy because you haven’t done anything that is newsworthy. They begin to question why you’re not part of the online community. This could also work to your advantage if you are applying (or hiring) for a position that requires more anonymity (example: Head Professional at a conservative private club).
Whether you are very transparent, or not – you must understand your digital profile and what it means moving ahead in business. It also doesn’t stop at Google, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We recommend really scheduling some time (perhaps an hour a day for a week) to sit down and get an understanding of where you stand and what your image is online. Once you understand the game, you can then begin to evolve your profile to match your business goals.
We wanted to share with you some of our helpful tips for getting started with a “self audit” and shaping the type of online profile you desire.
Google Alerts: These are e-mail updates of the latest Google results (web, news, etc..) based on your predefined search queries. Google Alerts provide a powerful and automated way to receive news about any topic you wish. You can also use this to keep notified about any mentions of your name, your competitors, specific golf news, and much more.
Kurrently.com: A real-time search engine for Facebook and Twitter.
Twitter Search: Allows users to search Twitter using filters. This can be a very powerful way to research if anyone has mentioned your name or a topic of interest while on Twitter. Twitter conversations are not indexed by Google, so this tool could prove to be very valuable.
Facebook Search: Once logged in allows users to search Facebook. Facebook, like Twitter, does not get indexed by Google. Therefore a search within Facebook will yield results not visible anywhere else.
IFTTT: This is a powerful web application that lets you perform certain actions if certain conditions are met. In the programming world, we call this “if/then” statements. So for example: “if” your name is mentioned on Twitter “then” you can receive an email with a link to that tweet. There are many “if/then” statements you can create with this service making it easy to automate the tracking of your digital profile.
Having an understanding of how the virtual world recognizes you can have very powerful effects. Using these tools to your advantage can help you reach your professional goals and get you pointed in the direction you wish to go.