It takes literally one minute to go to Google, type in your name, and Google yourself. But the real question remains: why would you want to do this? What is in it for you and why should you take time out of your day to go and search for yourself on Google?
Wouldn’t you like to know if someone who shares your name has done something negative? How about if someone that you’ve done business with in the past (or maybe a crazy ex-boyfriend or girlfriend) has written something negative about you online? Don’t you think that you should know about this potentially negative content and how it could affect you?
It’s good to know the statistics too, in a recent study:
- 77% of potential employers used search engines like Google to screen their candidates
- 35% of these employers eliminated a candidate from consideration based on information they found online
This should open your eyes up a little bit to the potential implications that irrelevant or negative content can have on your future. Let’s perform a real-time analysis using my own name as an example.
Why You Should Google Yourself
Go to Google, type in Trevor Elwell, and analyze what you see. For me, I see my personal website, my BrandYourself page, Twitter account, an article I wrote on Social Media Today, and a blog about Ethical Surrogacy. Wait, Ethical Surrogacy- why is that on there?! Well it turns out that there is another person named Trevor Elwell who lives in Australia, he and his partner were the first couple to have a child from an Indian surrogate mother. Now, even though this blog is not about me it’s important that I know that it’s out there. I am in the process of pushing down this particular blog for my name, but since it’s up there at the moment it’s important that I am aware of it and am able to respond to any questions that might arise from it such as, “So you have a kid” or “I didn’t know you were from Australia”.
Since I know the irrelevant information that’s out there, I’m able to better understand my own online reputation and respond accordingly. These are things that you would never know if you didn’t Google yourself to observe how your personal brand is thriving (or dying) in the online ecosystem.
What Happens if You Don’t Google Yourself
Just like you wouldn’t go into an interview without doing some research on the company that you hope will hire you, you shouldn’t go into any professional situation without knowing what information the other person is likely to have seen about you. Even though it could be pretty harmless information like that which shows up when my name is searched (not too many people have confused me for my Australian name-partner) there is definitely the potential for bad situations to occur. Our very own founder Pete Kistler was confused for a criminal while he was looking for jobs (which obviously resulted in a few very interesting interviews).
If you don’t Google yourself then you are not preparing yourself adequately for any form of professional meeting. The best strategy to protect yourself from negative and irrelevant information is always to create positive content that is more optimized for your name than other content. But since this process takes some time to complete, you should see what else is out there about your name and prepare yourself to answer questions about it just in case it gets brought up.