The Upside of Being Googled

Back in January, I wrote about how potential employers now routinely Google job applicants, and the importance of being aware of what they will learn about you.  In response, one of my readers sent me an e-mail that illustrates the upside of being Googled. 

The reader has a friend who studied computer science at college, and as part of her studies the friend did some research on a somewhat obscure topic in the field and wrote a paper about it, which she posted on her personal web site.  Some time later, a major software company called her out of the blue asking if she was looking for a job and would be willing to come in for an interview, and she eventually ended up working for them.  It seems that the company was doing some research on the same obscure topic, and when they did a web search they came across her paper and were so impressed by it they wanted to hire her.

Being spontaneously approached by potential employer is obviously unusual, but this example does show that while there can be a danger to having your information out on the internet, it can also be a great opportunity when you are looking for a job or clients.

Put your best work on the web where potential employers and clients can see it.

This work can be just about anything you create professionally or as a student.  White papers, business plans, marketing campaigns, student projects—anything that shows off your abilities and knowledge.  In some case, your work will already be on the web, such as white papers posted on a company’s site.  But in other cases it will be up to you to make sure the material is up there, using any of the many free or low-cost hosting services.  And when you can, make sure that your work has your name on it, so that it will show up when you are Googled.  (Of course, for business reasons your current employer or client may not want you to publish some of the work you created for them; always make sure you have permission before posting anything created as part of your job.)

Once you have your work on the web, you can’t rely on a potential employer stumbling across it—not everyone will be as lucky as the friend with the computer science paper—and you can’t even be sure that a potential employer will find it with a web search.  So to make sure that people know about your work, tell them about it. 

For example, my husband, who recently changed careers and became a librarian, is currently engaged in a job search as he attempts to move from a part-time to a full-time library job.  In his current position he has been creating a number of online tutorials and guides to library resources, so the task of putting his work on the web has already been done.  But to tell potential employers about it, he has created a simple web page containing links to his best work, and includes the address on his resume.  That way, they don’t even have to Google him to see what he has been up to.

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