I originally came up with the idea for this article after reading Darren Rowse’s post on ProBlogger called Reasons to Have a Vanity Folder in Your News Aggregator. A “Vanity Folder” or Online Brand Management Folder is a way for you to monitor online mentions of your name or business. If Darren is truly practicing what he preaches (and I’d bet he is), then he should come across this post. Darren’s post was directed towards bloggers, but I want to discuss how this concept and the technology behind it can be extremely useful to both recruiters and job searchers.
Before I get started, I strongly recommend that you read Reasons to Have a Vanity Folder in Your News Aggregator. Darren has already done a great job of explaining how to set yourself up with RSS and Google Alerts to manage your brand online, so I’m going to skip the how to and assume you’ve read his post.
Whether you are a recruiter trying to build your company’s employment brand or a job seeker trying to manage your personal brand, you can’t overlook the fact that online search results dictate what people know about you. The importance of monitoring how you show up in the search results is two-fold. First, you want to make sure people are finding the information that you want them to find about you or your company. Second, you want to know what other people are saying about you, so that you can protect your personal brand or your company’s employment brand (or pat yourself on the back when you get some good press).
When someone reads your resume, it is very likely that they will Google your name. If you have a common name, it may be difficult for them to find information about you, but if you have a unique name, they should be able to dig up some good dirt like: campaign contributions, your blog, photos of you, and a local newspaper article about an award you won. You should always be prepared to answer interview questions based on your Google results. You may even want to broach the subject if you’re particularly worried about search results that give a bad impression but are not related to you.
If someone writes a blog post about how awful their experience was applying for a job at your company, you want to find it immediately so that you can react appropriately. If one of your company’s employees is blogging, you want to keep up on the message they’re broadcasting to the world. Candidates are searching for information on working at your company every day. You need to know what they’re finding. Having an online brand management folder will keep you updated in real-time.
Selecting which terms to watch is the most important step in managing your brand online. If you search for the wrong terms, all of your efforts will be basically useless.
Unless you have a lot going on in your life, your full first and last name in quotes should be the only term you need to watch. Make sure that you use one name and stick to it (unless you want to separate two aspects of your life, such as your full name for business, and a nickname for a charitable organization you work with). I go by Willy, not William. Some people say it sounds a little immature, but I’d like to think it gives me some character. More importantly, the #1 Google Search Result for “William Franzen” brings up a sex offender. I don’t want to be associated with that scum. If you look for “Willy Franzen,” you find me. So make sure that the name you put on your resume and all job search related correspondences is the name you want Googled.
To get a good grasp on your employment brand’s activity in Google’s results, you will likely need to put together dozens of search terms for online brand management folder. You not only need to analyze what words are common in your company’s correspondences (e-mail, website, tv and print ads), but also what words are common for people to search when they want to find out more information about your company. Some suggestions:
Your company’s name
The name of the contact listed on a job posting or the name of your interviewers
The e-mail address you use on job postings
The phone number you use on job postings
Your company’s home page address
Your company’s careers page address
“working at (your company’s name)”
(your company’s name) jobs
Job titles that you are listing (be careful or you might get flooded with results from other competitors)
Depending on the size of your company, this could be an overwhelming task, or it could be quite easy. If you’d like more ideas on how to effectively manage your brand online, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the end, your Online Brand Management Folder will be as useful as you make it. As a job searcher or a recruiter, you should always be up to date about what people can find on the Internet about you or your company. By automating the process, you can always be informed with almost no time commitment. If your company would like help with online employment brand management, visit our Employers Page or e-mail us at email@example.com.
Have any questions about online brand management? Leave a comment.
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