Depending on who you ask, and what survey data you believe, 60-80% of all job seekers are searched on-line by recruiters prior to being hired. There is significant recruiter candidate mining and fact checking taking place on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google. Other major search engines are also being used as well. (You can see an interesting view of the online identity issues facing every job candidate at this link.)
So what is an individual in career transition to do?
Career Brander has previously blogged regarding online identity management. Our advice, simplified, is to take control of your online identity in four simple steps:
1) First audit yourself through a Google search of your name. Be sure to click through to different profiling sites that appear and confirm where you are being found and the data’s accuracy.
2) Establish a basic personal website (This is easy to do with Career Brander’s Site in 60 software)
3) Join or update the appropriate profile and community sites such as LinkedIn or Zoom Info.
4) Establish a Pre Search button through Vizibility.
Now, what if these four steps do not achieve your online identity goals? Or, what if you have no time or inclination to do this for yourself? Luckily with any growing consumer need, there are entrepreneurs focused on fulfilling the need. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of talking with Owen Tripp, the COO and co-founder of Reputation Defender. Below are some excerpts from our conversation.
Can you briefly tell our readership the problem Reputation Defender helps solve?
Owen: We make it easier for anyone to take control of their personal information and reputation online. We help people gain control of their online identity.
To me, you’re My Edge product is the most pertinent to those in career transition. Could you specifically talk about the benefits of your My Edge service, strictly from a job candidate perspective?
Owen: MyEdge could help an individual who is changing careers in a few ways. The career-changer (let’s call him Jim) will want prospective employers to see relevant, positive and truthful content about him online in order to be considered for the job. If Jim is a car mechanic and wants to transition into teaching, he probably doesn’t want the first page of Google to represent his college tennis match from ten years ago, or a negative review that a disgruntled customer from the nineties posted about him online. He will want that first page of Google results to best position him for the junior teaching assistant job. So, MyEdge can help Jim by creating bios and content based on information that he gives us (such as a LinkedIn profile that highlights the fact that even though he is a car mechanic, he minored in education at the University of Arizona and also was a substitute teacher for a year during college.) Our MyEdge team pushes this content to the top of Google and moves down irrelevant content so that Jim appears online as he is, a person in career transition.
That’s interesting, so beyond “defending one’s good name” you can actually help build online identity?
Owen: Yes, we believe that people have the right to “Google insurance”–to be defended but also represented the way they want to be represented online.
Do you have any specific examples of how a customer in transition benefited from your service?
Owen: We have many recent college graduates that use our service to build their personal online brand to poise them for the job market; job seekers and professionals (teachers, lawyers, doctors, realtors) are our fastest-growing customer segment.
How do you charge for this service?
Owen: Subscription, annual or monthly. Go to the Reputation Defender website and we offer very clear, transparent pricing.
[CB: Prices average about $10 -$15 per month with discounts for longer terms.]
Given our readership is all about Career Branding, is there anything else you would like to add?
Owen: Online reputation management is the most important device to setting the first impression that customers or hiring managers will see about you when researching you or your company. Consumers are looking companies and people up online, in this age; your Google results define you.
Career Brander, nor any of our staff members, have tried Reputation Defenders service, but clearly a job seeker who is not interested in tackling online identity issues on their own, or someone who has serious online identity problems, has a full service provider to consider. Reputation Defender is a market leader in personal online optimization, and is backed by highly reputable, leading venture capitalists.