By Lizzy Scully
When you do a Google search for your name, what comes up? The thesis presentation you did when you graduated from college? An article you wrote a decade ago? What happens if an employer is trying to find out more about you? With the growing popularity of social media sites, this is not uncommon. In fact, it is becoming increasingly normal. Do you want that employer to see something you did that is completely outdated? Probably not. Thus, you really need to consider creating some good “Google Juice” for yourself.
According to Kip Wotkyns, assistant professor of journalism at Metro State, “People check you out if they are at all serious about hiring you. You want to control your brand online. The way to do that is to have lots of Google Juice. All of a sudden, when they look you up, you’re this famous person.”
How can you do this? Easy. Create an online identity, such as a blog, and write regular articles about your area of expertise. You can point your potential employer to this blog, but, more importantly, the more you post and the more you wisely use “tags” to let Google know what you are posting about, the more likely your name will appear in search engine results.
In addition to blogging, join various social media sites, groups, and fan pages. LinkedIn is the number one site for job seekers, but Facebook is another good option. Use your social media sites to network as much as possible. Be sure to be active—comment on other peoples’ posts, answer LinkedIn’s Q&As with thoughtful and thought-provoking comments, and put links from your blog posts to all your social media sites to let people know what you wrote about. Just be careful to not overdo selling yourself. The idea with social media is to offer people something valuable without making them feel like you are trying to advertise your wares. Give without expecting anything in return.
Next, make sure you post regularly to all your social media platforms. The more credible and authentic articles, suggestions, and links to other sites that you post, the more helpful you will be perceived by your “friends” and other group members. As well, the more your name and your articles will rise to the surface in Google searches.
As well, make sure you use some simple analytics software, such as Google Analytics or Statcounter to gauge how many people come to your site, what they like to read, and where they come from. Keep track of this over the long term, and you will really be able to see how people react to what you write. The more favorably people perceive your content, the more likely they will link to that content. Thus, the more likely your content (and you) will rise in a Google Search when a potential employer is searching for you.
“All of these things,” says Wotkyns, “create Google Juice. When you do a search on your name, what should happen is the front page of the Google search results should be full of all the stuff that you did.”