Since its launch in 1997, Google Search has changed the world we live in. By no means the first search engine (that honour goes to the Aliweb, released in 1993), it was the first to become ingrained in our culture, as people up and down the country began to “Google”.
Today Google search is regarded by most internet users as the go-to search engine for our entire web browsing needs.
Traditionally search engines were used to search for things or companies. However now it is possible to search for anyone with an online identity. Have a Facebook, Twitter or MySpace account? If yes, then you could become a search result on Google. And supposedly this is what companies now do to find out information about potential employees. You can get so much information about someone just through looking at their social media accounts, some of which may not show you in the best light. My Facebook profile for instance contains 1,565 photos of me. Of these photos I would say that 75% are of me as drunk as a skunk, another 20% are from my travels and the final 5% show be making a fool of myself at various events.
That’s me below at a staff party a few years ago. I’m the one ‘dressed’ as a mummy!
Now that’s not a great first impression for an employer!
Because let’s face it, when you apply for a job, the company looks at your covering letter, CV and then jumps on google to find out all the juicy bits. I would say that nowadays almost every applicant for a white-collar job has been looked up online.
Therefore I have spent the day cleaning up my online social identity, to present myself to the outside world in a respectable manner. I’ve insured my personality, personal photos and experiences are preserved online, but I have selected who can see what on all my online profiles.
I then decided to Google myself, by typing in my name followed by things my CV links to me. For instance, my name followed by ‘Column Idol’, my name followed by ‘UK’ or my name and ‘Essex Graduate’. Sure enough I was there! On page 1 of my search. I discovered some interesting things about myself! For example, I once did a live interview for BBC radio Northampton back in July, and the recording was posted online for all to hear. Upon reading the description of the radio show I learnt that on the same show Jane McDonald spoke about her latest tour, and there was a cheese tasting from the St Giles Cheese shop.
This now probably gives me the credentials to appear on ‘I’m A Celebrity’, right?
So in summary, any job hunter out there, make sure you tidy up your online appearance. It’s just as important as wearing deodorant and having shiny shoes at your interview. And if you haven’t made to the interview stage yet, then this could be why.