How your online reputation can lead to job offers

How Your Online Reputation Can Lead to Job Offers

Forget your chronological list of accomplishments: What does your “Google top ten” look like? Today the traditional paper resume plays second fiddle to the state of your online reputation, sometimes meaning the difference between a callback and a silent telephone. In this article, you’ll learn about how your online reputation can lead to job offers, the growing significance of a good online reputation in the job marketplace, what it means to have a well-rounded online reputation and how you can take control of your Google top ten.


A thinning classifieds section signifies high unemployment.

As of August 2011, the number of unemployed Americans stands at 14.0 million — a rate of 9.1 percent — with projections for limited improvement in the near future. Owing to this lack of job offerings, hiring managers and other HR personnel are bombarded with applications, resumes and cover letters for each open position they post online, at a level most of them have never encountered.

Along with this employment feeding frenzy comes a general sense of fatigue on the part of the job recruiter. When faced with 1,000 people gunning for one position, recruiters can only be so thorough with each application. In short, don’t expect them to read every single word in your resume and cover letter, at least not right away.

However, if you do have that extra-special something in your application that screams, “I might be worth it,” you can expect the next step to be a cursory or in-depth search of your name online. Over the past few years, the number of recruiters using the Internet to conduct searches on prospective candidates has risen from roughly 26 percent to a commanding majority of nearly 80 percent, adding considerable heft to the value of a good online reputation.  So, this alone should tell you how your online reputation can lead to job offers.

Not surprisingly, 70 percent of prospective employers reject candidates based on negative information found online. In what can only be described as a perfect storm of technological advancement and economic depression, personal Google search results have assumed the same importance as material resumes, effectively making your online reputation your digital resume.


What should your Google top ten search results say about you?

Job seekers need digital documentation of their employment history and a description of their vocational talents. Several websites, such as LinkedIn, allow you to post an online resume; in addition to highlighting your accomplishments in an organized and effective manner, these sites are known to rank highly in search engines. Moreover, LinkedIn provides a wealth of networking opportunities for the active job seeker, whether on a regional basis, by specific profession or according to placement on the corporate ladder.

When used carefully, Facebook can foster a positive online venue for professional networking and possible job offers. By keeping your posts positive, your friends professional and your interests relevant to work, you can turn your Facebook page into the primary beacon of your online job search, as it will also likely rank high on Google.

A well-rounded Google top ten should also contain some indication of your personal interests. A good online reputation begins with an updated resume but by no means needs to end there.

  • What do you do outside work?
  • Do you run marathons?
  • Give to charity? Traditionally, race results or charitable donations connected to your name appear in search results, sometime ranking very highly.
  • Do you spend time with your family?
  • Travel?
  • Collect rare thimbles?
  • Post photos of the people, places and things you care about to Flickr?

As with Facebook, though, be careful how you do this. Anything personal can help recruiters decide whether or not you’ll fit into a given office environment.  Think about how your online reputation can lead to job offers, before you make that next post.


Job seekers can improve their negative online reputations.

Of course, not everything in your Google top ten will convey a positive image to prospective employers. In certain cases you can fix this, such as untagging yourself from unflattering or damaging photos, changing your privacy settings on Facebook or getting in touch with that one person who wrote a nasty blog post about you five years ago and nicely asking him or her to remove it (hey, it’s worth a shot).


Tom Winston specializes in matters of Internet privacy, SEO, ReputationDefender and online reputation management (ORM), contributing articles to a wide range of print and online publications. He lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.