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Tools of the Trade: Taking control of your online identity.

This article is going to be the first in a series that addresses a handful of techniques and technologies that can help you take control of your professional life.

At some point in your job search, HR or a recruiter is going to see your name, open up their internet browser and start digging to learn more about you. What they find can hurt you, but it may also help you.

First, Search yourself. Start at Google.com, type in your name, and go from there. Yahoo.com and Bing.com are the other two big search engines. Those three will begin to paint the picture and here you figure out what others are seeing about you.

This may not be terribly simple, especially if you have a common or simple name. While sitting with a client recently, we tried this with him. After searching for his name all we could easily find was link after link of an iconic sports star with the same name. This was all he had ever seen in a search of his own name so he assumed that he was all clear. I then added his most recent job title and that all changed. Now we could begin to see pages of links that actually referenced our client. After you search for your name try different variations including closely related details like locations, positions, industry terms, and employers.

Second, clear up the negatives. If you’ve stumbled across anything you’ve posted on the multiple social networks or other blogs, delete it. Keep your personal accounts personal by securing them in their privacy settings (more on that in a later post) and keep your professional accounts professional by being very careful about what you post, share, like, and link to.

If you still don’t find anything when performing searches for yourself, that’s not exactly a good thing. It just means possible employers can’t find anything negative about you. We want people to find positive information about you.

Third, Paint a positive picture. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile yet, stop what you are doing and start creating one. NOW!

Okay, now that you have your LinkedIn profile set up, you’ll want to fine-tune a few things. First, make sure your profile is complete. Next, start being more active. Join groups and comment on pages. Follow news and valued company pages. Then start writing Posts. Treat this like your own blog. Create an editorial calendar for yourself to make sure you are posting self-written article frequently. Slowly you will build a following and slowly you will be creating a new image for yourself. Search engines will begin to pick these up, then, when a hiring agent searched for you, they will find your expertise.

Email us at if you’d like to know more about our LinkedIn profile audits.

That should get you started. Make sure to follow The Wetrich Groups SCO on LinkedIn to get updates like this and much more.