When I finish a resume for a client, I always google their name to see what comes up.
This isn't prurient curiosity - I do this because I know that what comes up in a Google search is almost as important as what's on the resume - maybe more in some cases.
Think about it - when you buy an expensive product, do you make your decision based on the manufacturers' descriptions of how wonderful their products are? I'm guessing that you don't - that instead you base your decision on reviews from friends, family, books, magazines and online websites.
In the past, employers had very few chances to get beyond what you told them in your resume. They could ask for references, but chances are you wouldn't give them names of people who would say bad things. They could ask probing questions at interviews, but this really depended on how good they were at probing and how good you were at answering. They could try calling former employers without your knowledge, but none of them would speak based on fear of lawsuits. So hiring a new employee was a leap into the unknown.
The Internet has changed that at least to some extent. Now employers can google your name and see what comes up. If they find lots of good stuff, obviously that works in your favor. If they find less flattering personal information, obviously that will work against you. But what about if they don't find anything?
This is increasingly the problem I find with my professional and executive-level clients. It's not that Google makes them look bad - it's that Google makes them look invisible.
And so this is my advice for Job Action Day: Take steps now to make sure that you have a strong e-presence.
1) Create profiles on sites like LinkedIn, Plaxo, Visual CV, Facebook and ZoomInfo. Make these profiles as impressive as your resume. Fill out every section and include links to your websites or blogs within the profiles.
2) Build your own site or hire someone to do it for you. Whether you start a blog or create a static website, you must have a place that offers all the important information about you in one place.
Once you have built these profiles, they may take a few weeks to show up in search engine results, but when they do, you will be able to add this powerful sentence to your cover letters, emails and interview answers: "Feel free to google me for more information."
See how confident that makes you sound?
There are many more ways to build a strong e-presence and I'll cover more of them in future posts, but for Job Action Day, here is one thing you can do to immediately improve your job search success rate.