Orville Pierson’s Blog

They’re Looking for You on the Internet

You Google employers. And sooner or later they will probably Google you. When they do, what will they find?

Sometimes employers source candidates on the Internet. Headhunters do the same. An even wider array of employers will check finalists on the Internet. So when you’re job hunting, your presence on the Internet, positive or negative, can make a difference.

If you haven’t already done so, please go Google yourself right now. I’ll wait right here.

OK, what did you find? What will an employer learn about you on the Internet? Will they find anything that confirms what you have on your resume? Anything that contradicts it? Anything that makes you look incompetent, dangerous, immature, or just plain silly?

Let’s start with negatives. If you found things that you posted that maybe aren’t what you want an employer to see, now would be a good time to take them down. Like those Facebook photos of you in a bar in New Zealand, maybe? Or the anti-Microsoft rant you posted in your blog. And while we’re at it, what impression does your e-mail name make? If you find incorrect or negative information about you posted by others, e-mail them and ask them to remove it.

What if you tried a number of different search engines and websites and found nothing about yourself at all? While that does no harm, it doesn’t do any good either.

Should you have a page on a social networking site, like Linked In? Yes. Having a page on a work-related site is essential these days, and you want to go with the sites most used by employment professions — and the ones that have the largest number of total users. A social networking site makes it easier for people to find you and check you out. It also helps you with your networking by giving you access to maps of the networks of other people you know.

Want to go farther?

I recently talked to an unemployed CIO who decided to start a blog during his job search. He’d never done anything like that before, but now he had time. He gave it some real thought and checked into other blogs. He decided to concentrate on topics inside of his profession.

He’s employed now. Did the blog help him find the job? We may never know. But, along the way, he got such a good reaction from other C-level executives — in and out of his field — that he decided to continue the blog while employed. It looked to me like he enhanced his reputation in the field, provided some free professional development for his readers and expanded the circle of people who are aware of his expertise.

Should everyone try this? Definitely not. It’s only for those who are established as writers and far enough along in their careers to be seen as experts. And you need to know how to get your blog noticed, since there are zillions of them. It’s all very time-consuming.

Which reminds me to add one more thing before I sign off:

I’ve talked to dozens of excellent career consultants who say that the Internet is the job hunter’s biggest timewaster. And I agree. So I want to be absolutely clear that I am not suggesting that you spend 10 hours a week reading and posting things on the Internet. But one hour might be an hour well spent.

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