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When’s the last time you typed your name into Google or another search engine to see what information about you is on the Internet? Many people don’t realize how valuable it can be to know what pages pop up when you search for yourself online, but the reality is that many potential employers do Google candidates during the recruitment process. Especially for those of you who are about to graduate or who are looking for jobs and internships, it is extremely important to present yourself in the way you want the world to see you. It’s about marketing yourself, and creating your own personal brand. I understand that it may seem tacky or vain to “sell” yourself, but treating your abilities and skill set like a brand is a great way to get a leg up and set yourself apart in a positive way.

So how do you manage your personal brand? The first step is to see what is out there and what prospective employers and contacts might see when they search for you. For many people, a link to their Facebook profile or Twitter account pops up when their name is entered into Google. If your Facebook profile is not something you want the world to see, adjust your privacy settings so your profile won’t appear in search engines. On the other hand, social media may be a great tool for you to utilize, especially if you’re interested in a field like public relations, marketing, public affairs, or speech communication. It can be a great thing to utilize social media networks like Twitter and LinkedIn to portray your personal brand. Start regularly “tweeting” about relevant articles or issues that you find interesting, or linking to new websites you come across. If you use LinkedIn, make sure your profile is up-to-date and solicit recommendations from people you’ve had positive working relationships with. Blogging is becoming more and more popular, and is yet another way you can create a positive online presence.

There are only so many things that we can control during the job search, but your online presence is definitely something that you can control. Go Google yourself now—try typing in your name, your name along with UGA or your hometown, your e-mail address, etc. You’d be surprised what might pop up—for me, some of the sites that pop up are a Letter to the Editor I wrote Freshman year, my Relay for Life fundraising page, and my time in a 5k I ran in Sophomore year (yikes). There’s also a link to both my Twitter page and my LinkedIn profile, because I feel comfortable sharing those with the world and feel that they show my personality in a professional manner.

The bottom line is that it’s important to monitor your online presence, you can take steps to control it, and it is a useful and important tool. For more tips on creating a successful online profile, read this great article I found: “How to Change what comes up about you in Google”

Happy Googling,