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« Learning Web Design in Reverse | Main | Web Page Layout Suggestions »

Watch Out: People Are Googling You!

I’m sure most people have heard of Googling someone. For those that haven’t here is a quick overview.  If you’re curious about someone you can go to Google and enter their name in the Google search box. Make sure you use quotes around “their name.” This helps Google narrow down its search to only the name entered. You can probably Google most of your friends and find some reference to them online. There are very few people I know who cannot be Googled.

Googled for Jobs
Many people ask, "can find out who is Googling you?" More employers are starting to use Google and other search engines to find out additional information about their interview candidates. For some people this can be both a virtue and a vice. You should consider any content you have online to be open to public view. That includes your MySpace and Facebook accounts. 

Be careful of the type of content or information that you post. Pictures of drunken debauchery probably aren’t something you want anyone in the public to view. Remember that a picture can be worth a thousand words.  Your pictures might be interpreted differently than your actual experience.

The Web Site Factor
If you have a Blog or Web Site be very cognizant of your articles and pages.  One famous Blogger was fired from her job because she was writing about some of her coworkers.  One of my friends accidentally posted a work performance review of some of his coworkers.  He forgot about the file for a few days and it was eventually index into Google. Even after the file was deleted the references showed up in Google for a while.

Being Googled For Your Advantage
You can use the knowledge of people seeking more information about you to your advantage. First, start by Googling your own name.  If you want to get really technical use different variables such as middle name and initials.  You should also search on other common search engines: Yahoo, MSN, AOL, and Ask. For people with common names you might find someone else showing up in search results.  Go through the first few pages of results.  Make sure there aren’t any links or information that might represent you in a poor light.  If there is information that someone might misinterpret take it down. Check out the 'Leveraging People Googling You to Your Advantage' article for additional information.

Self Marketing
After you have ensured that there isn’t any negative information that can be Googled, start to concentrate on positive information. One of the most important things you can do is position yourself for your career.  This can be accomplished by having your own personal web site.  Web sites are a great way for job seekers to create their own extended resume or business card.  If you aren’t ready for a web site you can still secure your online real estate.  Visit one of the registration companies and register your name today.

Your site doesn’t necessarily need to be related to your future field of employment, but it should be captivating.  It can show more information about you and what you are passionate about.  Many people have a web site to display their personal photo albums. Other people maintain their own personal Blog. Blogs are a great way for you to flex your writing talents.  Personal web sites and Blogs are also a great way to self market yourself.  Whatever you do online make sure it accentuates your positive site.

Googling has even found its place in the dating scene.  Don’t be surprised if your date knows more about you than you might have disclosed.

Whatever you do online always remember someone else is watching!

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