Online Reputation Management for College Grads

For students preparing for their foray into the job market, it's essential to not only polish up their resume, but also be aware of what potential employers will find when searching for them online. Online reputation management has become essential, as 92% of recruiters perform an online search of a candidate before staging a face-to-face interview. There may be items about you online that you would not feel comfortable with a potential employer viewing.

In today's digital age, your online presence is becoming your resume. Whether it's compromising photos, vulgar language, or even a mistaken identity, college graduates entering the job market need to be cognizant about what's out there when someone searches for their name on Google or any of the other major search engines. If there are specific items found that could diminish your chance to land your first job, you can utilize specific tactics to be sure that positive information can supersede any negative results.  This resource has been formulated to provide soon-to-be or recent college graduates with a step-by-step guide to ensure their online reputation is both managed as well as protected.

Reputation Management Guide for College Grads


  • Assess Current Search Results - The first step for a college graduate to take in addressing their online reputation management is to take inventory of the search results when someone searches their name in the major search engines. With the advent of social media, many college students don't think twice as to what photos or nefarious comments may be visible to the public through a simple search. The goal now is to assess the current results and follow the steps to present yourself in the most professional manner as possible to make the college graduate appealing to a potential employers.

In order to properly grasp what your reputation is online, it's necessary to dig in and see what's out there by simply going to Google and performing a search for your name. It's important to not be logged in to your Google account when performing the search in a Chrome browser. When logged in, Google records all of your searches and produces results that are customized for you. Google does allow you to perform a search which would have no customized results using their Incognito mode. When performing the search, use quotation marks around your search to ensure your name is being displayed in the exact order (for example, “John Doe”). Examine each result to determine if it positive, negative, or unrelated to you. Going through the first five pages of results should be sufficient to document what's out there.


Career Services Experts are beginning to understand the severity of need for students to understand what's on the web as they search for employment.

"It's becoming more and more important for students to be aware of and able to manage their online presence, to be able to have strong, positive things come up on the Internet when someone seeks them out," said Mike Cahill, Syracuse Career Services Director.

Examine Google’s Auto Complete Results

When at, enter your name into the search box, but do not press enter. You will see five suggestions of potential search strings. Go over each of these suggestions to ensure none of the suggestions have a negative connotation.


What Will Turn a Recruiter Away?

The below list covers a few scenarios that students should protect themselves against. These items, when found by a recruiter, could cause them to immediately skip to the next candidate. A recent survey showed that 85% of hiring managers say a candidate’s positive digital presence impacted their hiring decision.

"The rise in social recruiting has allowed both candidates and employers an easier way to find the best match," said Jobvite CEO Dan Finnigan. "We continue to see social recruiting gain popularity because it is more efficient than the days of sifting through a haystack of resumes.”

Identity Confusion a.k.a. Digital Doppleganger - This scenario refers to a situation in which there's a person appearing in the search results who shares your same name. This could be a positive or a negative. It's highly unlikely a recruiter is going to search and find a 72-year old John Doe and confuse it with you, who just graduated, but there are many other scenarios where it could be to your disadvantage. Many people have had difficulties getting hired because a recruiter stumbled upon a LinkedIn profile of a person with their same name and didn’t have the necessary skillset and was passed on, or even worse, was someone with a criminal background.

False Claims - Unfortunately, not everything posted online is true. False claims could come from an ex-colleague, ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, or anyone, for that matter. For whatever reason, some people truly enjoy spreading lies online, whether it’s websites like Don’t Date Him Girl or the Bad Employee Database. Many liken sites of that ilk to a previous blog post regarding Ripoff Report. Some of the allegations out there may very well be true, but there is no vetting process before they are published, so who knows what could be out there under your name.

Photos Which May Be Deemed Offensive – As covered in a previous article regarding Facebook’s Graph Search, it's now easier for your photos that you maybe didn’t want spread around the web to be in the open. A survey also indicated the mention of or photos partaking in illegal drug use is the top ‘bad impression’ for a recruiter, so it's in your best interest to cull every photo of you that's posted on social media sites.

Profanity Used in Any Writing – While using language that wouldn’t be allowed on daytime television isn’t a crime, it shouldn’t necessarily be a given for online dialogue. Putting something in writing is just flat out different from saying the same thing when there is no other context such as body language or facial expressions. Using harsh language can not only be seen as offensive, but could also be seen as overly aggressive behavior. A potential employer is most likely not going to be excited to come across a blog of yours that contains language which could be perceived as offensive, so it's always best to moderate your swearing if at all possible.

Grammar and/or Spelling Errors – Recruiters look for a sense of professionalism when performing online searches for a potential candidate. If you can’t write well in items you post online, recruiters may think you won’t be able to use proper grammar in a professional setting, so always represent yourself in a way you would feel comfortable with your English teacher seeing. If you find something you have written online that contains numerous spelling errors, you should document the entry.

Non-Updated Social Profiles – If a recruiter discovers your LinkedIn profile and sees you haven’t updated anything since 2007, they may wonder if your skillset still fits the position that is available. For someone coming out of college, a LinkedIn page should document your major, grade point average, as well as any clubs or associations you have been involved with at school. Updating the profile each semester projects an image to a recruiter that you are on the ball.

Real Mistakes Made – It's a fact: everyone makes mistakes. Some are larger than others, but anything that's documented with the law tends to live on forever on the Internet. While you can’t change the past, it's in your best interest to make note of any entries that focus on the mistake so they can be dealt with further down the line.

  • Take Inventory - Performing some diligence as to which web properties you have control of is important when looking at a college graduate's online presence. Documenting if you author a blog, as well as each of the social media accounts that you have registered, is important as well. Looking to see if there are any online pieces written by you on other sites will assist in the process. The end goal is to clearly understand the positive pieces pertaining to you on the web in order to determine how to craft your online reputation when looking for that first job.

Take Inventory of Web Properties Owned

Do you own a blog or other domain (website)? If so, make a list of each of these properties. Neither the content nor the freshness of the site is important at this stage; each property should simply be documented.

Assess All Pieces Written About You on Other Sites

Was there a piece written about your high school volleyball team? Were you mentioned in an article regarding your involvement with Big Brothers & Big Sisters of America? Document these items in a spreadsheet -- they can be used to your advantage down the road.


Take Inventory of Present Social Media Profiles

Create a tab in your spreadsheet which contains information for every social media account you have registered. This could be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, etc. Also document if these accounts are found in the first five pages of search results when performing a search for your name.


Begin Taking Action

  • Acquire Social Profiles - By taking the initiative to go out and create profiles for yourself on many of the top social media platforms, you are creating additional content to be found when a recruiter could be searching for your name. There may be some social platforms that you do not find completely relevant to you, but you are simply expanding your online presence.  You have the ability to create content on these platforms which will portray you in the light you deserve for a recruiter or hiring manager.

Acquire Profiles on Top Social Media Sites

Depending on which social media platforms you already possess, go through the below list of some of the top social media platforms and create accounts on at least 10 of them. Create as much content as possible in the ‘profile’ portion of each site. Even if you feel these sites may not be relevant to your interests, it will set up another property for you on the web, which will be another opportunity to display positive information about yourself. Keep in mind the result you are looking for is to have the search results entirely clean if a recruiter or potential employer searches for your name.

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. LinkedIn
  4. Pinterest
  5. My Space
  6. Google+
  7. Deviant Art
  8. Live Journal
  9. Tagged
  10. Orkut
  11. CafeMom
  12. Ning
  13. Meetup
  14. MyLife
  15. Multiply


  • Set Up Google Alerts - Google created a free tool that is infinitely useful to a college graduate when monitoring their online reputation. Google Alerts gives you the ability to set up an account to notify you at your choosing when your name appears online. Being equipped with this information will allow you to be immediately informed when your name appears online. It's an excellent tool to be sure you are included in conversations related to your field of choice when searching for a job.  This section gives you step-by-step instructions to set up your Google Alerts account correctly.

When it comes to running a company or managing a brand, you want to know what's being said about you. One way to monitor mentions and coverage is to set up a Google Alert. It's a simple, efficient way to use the world's largest search engine to keep track of press and results and respond appropriately. When you set up a Google Alert, it looks like this:



The "search query" is the term you want to monitor. Some examples of terms you'd want to receive alerts for include:

  • Your brand name (e.g., Super Widgets)
  • Your URL (
  • A specific product name
  • High-profile employees (like your CEO, CMO, brand evangelists, etc)
  • Your competitors (see who's writing about them and whether there are opportunities for these outlets to write about you, too)

You can tweak the terms you enter here using a number of parameters:

  • Quotations will tell Google to search for those terms exactly. For example,Super Widgets could bring results that include Super or Widgets but not necessarily both, nor in that order. However, "Super Widgets" tells Google that you want to monitor results for that exact phrase. Furthermore, if your brand were "Supper Widgets," enclosing the terms in quotation marks would instruct Google to deliver alerts for the differently spelled "Supper Widgets" instead of "Super Widgets."
  • A minus sign will tell Google to exclude that term. If you specialize in all types of widgets except red, you could monitor the term widgets -red to instruct Google to ignore results for red widgets.
  • The site: operator tells Google to search for mentions from particular sites. For example, if you want to monitor any mentions your brand receives from the Wall Street Journal, you can enter the search query as "Super Widgets"
  • Likewise, the minus sign combined with the site: operator will tell Google to ignore mentions from that particular site. Thus, "Super Widgets" would exclude results from the Wall Street Journal.

The "result type" specifies what sort of alerts you want to receive. The options include:

  • Everything -- (all relevant results Google comes across)
  • News (alerts from news outlets only)
  • Blogs (alerts from blogs only)
  • Video
  • Discussions
  • Books

The "how often" section lets you select how frequently you want to receive these alerts. The options include:

  • As-it-happens
  • Once a day
  • Once a week

It's up to you to figure out the frequency. Obviously, if you choose "as-it-happens," you run the risk of being overwhelmed with alerts flooding your inbox. You could start with "once a day" or "once a week" alerts and reserve real-time alerts for unique circumstances (like initial feedback/coverage of a new product launch, or monitoring a sudden reputation management issue that has popped up).

"How many" refers to the quality of results you want. You can choose either "Only the best results" or "All results." Again, this is a matter of personal preference. I would recommend trying out "All results" at first to get a gauge of quality and then paring down from there if there's too much garbage filtering through.

"Deliver to" is your delivery system. You can choose to have the alerts delivered to an email address or to a Google Reader feed. Depending on how many alerts you set up, you can end up flooding your inbox with results and burying your other mail. Setting up an email filter for your alerts can help organize your inbox better if you prefer to have them delivered.

A feed, however, is a great way to monitor your alerts while keeping your inbox clutter-free. Underneath the "Create your alert" button is a link to "Manage your alerts," which allows you to organize the alerts you've set up. These alerts are viewable via Google Reader, which is an organized feed reader of every alert you're subscribed to. You can click between different alerts and star certain ones for bookmarking, as well as share specific alerts via Google+ or email. You can also tag alerts with specific keywords (such as "follow up on this" or "great review"). The "Trends" section also gives you stats of the alerts you've set up, letting you know which ones you read the most and which ones get neglected. This is a good way to make sure your alerts are always optimized for maximum benefit.

Hopefully this has been a simple overview of how to use Google Alerts to set up alerts for your business. It's definitely a useful tool in reputation management that should be utilized as much as possible.

Google Alerts is a feature where you can be notified when your name is used online. The notifications can be customized exactly to your liking and it is rather easy to set up. We've written a useful step-by-step detailing how to set up Google Alerts for your name, brand, or business, and recommend you refer to it and utilize the information in the post to set up alerts for your name or your personal websites.

  • Set Up Social Alerts - While Google Alerts can inform when your name is located in their search engine, it is also imperative to monitor what's being said on social networking sites. There are many tools on the market that can do the work for you. HootSuite has an option for the price that a recent college grad would appreciate (free) to monitor social conversations that involve your name. Being quick to respond to relevant social conversations is a trait that recruiters would look favorably upon.

It's important to understand that Google Alerts assist in crawling its own results, but it may not provide you with the mentions of you on social media properties. There are plenty of free and paid tools out there to help you cut through the clutter to be informed when there's a discussion taking place that you should be involved in. One of the leaders of the pack is HootSuite, who has a free tool as well as a souped up dashboard interface for $10 per month. The free option is most likely suitable for an individual looking to protect their name. By taking advantage of an application such as HootSuite, you'll be able to know right away if your name is involved in social media conversations. This isn’t only to protect your name, but also to alert you to be active in relevant discussions online. It will keep you on top of your social media presence without having to constantly log on to each individual platform.

“Social media doesn’t sleep, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to! Ensure your social media management tool of choice allows you to schedule messages in advance. So, even while you are in meetings with clients in New York, you can schedule messages to go out to your customers in Tokyo during their workday.” - Brad Friedman, President, The Friedman Group

  • Set Up & SEO Your Site - A college graduate searching for employment should have a website where they can host their resume, as it shows the job search is being taken seriously. This guide shows you not only how to create your site and relevant content, but also to set it up in a manner which is friendly to the search engines. Using some of our search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, you will give your new site better visibility in major search engine results.

Purchase a Domain Specific to your Name

If you do not already have a blog with domain name that matches your name, this is a good opportunity to purchase a URL from a registrar for as little as $9.95. This is effective as it will act as a new destination for you to host your resume as well as create thought leadership pieces. If the domain is an exact match to your name, it will give you a better chance to rank well in the search engines when someone is searching for you. The most popular and powerful content management system you can use to power your website is WordPress. Within 10 minutes you can have a professional-looking theme for your blog and begin uploading your resume as well as other items that a recruiter would be interested in seeing.

Begin Creating Content on Your New Domain

Now that you have purchased your domain, it's time to begin creating content. Setting up a page which includes your resume is an excellent tactic to promote your positive traits. You can also slowly begin to write pieces that may be of interest in your field of study. A recruiter would love to see that you take interest in said field in your spare time.

"People and search engines both appreciate great content." - Aarron Walter, SEO Industry Expert

Ensure All of Your Web Properties Are Set Up Properly from a Search Engine Perspective

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is defined as the process of improving the visibility of a website or a webpage in search engines via "natural" or un-paid search results. There are companies who spend millions of dollars a year on search engine optimization, but below is a quick list of steps you can take to ensure your site will be search engine friendly.

  • Check your pages for syntactically correct HTML code
  • Make sure the title and meta description tags are accurately representing your site’s content
  • Double check pages to make sure exactly one H1 tag exists on each page
  • If you have pages with duplicate content, make sure you’re marking them with a rel=”canonical” tag
  • Check out Google’s own SEO Starter Guide
  • Run a PageSpeed report to see if there’s anything you can do to help the site load faster

Finally, if you do elect to use WordPress, check out theYoast SEO plugin. It will take care of most of the basic technical details for you automatically and the default settings are pretty good for most situations.

  • Review Old Profiles - Some social platforms have now been around for nearly 10 years. A college graduate is probably a much different person than they were even five years ago when they created social media profiles while in high school. By going back and auditing all of your social profiles, you can ensure they do not contain anything you do not see fit for public consumption or to be viewed by a potential employer. The last thing you would want is an opinion from six years ago costing you a chance to land your first job.

Cull All Established Social Profiles to Ensure There Are No Posts or Entries You Wouldn’t Feel Comfortable with the Public Seeing

There are social sites that have now been around for almost 10 years. Now that you're looking for permanent employment, the odds are high that you are a much different person than you were eight years ago. Therefore, it would serve you well to go through your old social profiles to determine if there's any material you no longer feel comfortable having out in the open. Times change rapidly, and if you shared an opinion on a blog or another forum six years ago that may not be politically correct or accepted today, it may make sense to remove the entry.

Please note that once something is crawled by the search engines, it is never going away. However, removing pieces that you no longer feel good about may make it more difficult to be located. If you don’t feel comfortable having something you wrote on the front page of the newspaper, it shouldn’t be in your social profiles when potential employers are performing an online search.

A study conducted by Eurocom Worldwide indicated that as much as 20% of technology firms pass directly over a candidate if they find something that they do not agree with on the candidate’s social media profiles:

“The 21st century human is learning that every action leaves an indelible digital trail. In the years ahead many of us will be challenged by what we are making public in various social forums today. The fact that one in five applicants disqualify themselves from an interview because of content in the social media sphere is a warning to job seekers and a true indicator of the digital reality we now live in.” Mads Christensen, Network Director at Eurocom Worldwide.

  • Take Advantage of LinkedIn - LinkedIn is a phenomenal tool to not only host a resume in order to market a college graduate directly to an employer, but also to be able to network and connect with someone who may be able to make an introduction that can lead to a new job. There is a right way and a wrong way to utilized LinkedIn, and we are confident that this guide can direct a college graduate to get the most possible out of LinkedIn during their employment search and beyond.

In today’s job market, having a well-executed LinkedIn profile is just as and maybe even more important that the standard resume. With the advent of being able to search for candidates online, recruiters can go through 10 times the potential candidates than they could when dealing solely with paper resumes. If you do not have the proper skills and expertise listed on your LinkedIn page, you could be skipped over in a heartbeat by a recruiter. Below is a top 10 list of best practices for a college student when expanding their LinkedIn page.

1. Use a Professional Photo - When someone visits your LinkedIn profile, the first thing their eye will go to is your photograph. It is imperative you use a quality picture. You should look exactly as you would when going to an interview: in a sensible outfit with your hair well put together. Showing a photo that is from a football game, or that's taken from a group photo with the other people cropped out, does not exude a professional vibe and should be avoided at all costs.

“It's very important to use a professional picture in your LinkedIn profile. First impressions are very important and people will judge you within a few seconds when they see your LinkedIn profile. Save your casual pictures for Facebook and Twitter.” - Ted Prodromou, Entrepreneur Magazine

2. Proofread - Whereas people spend hour after hour pouring over each punctuation mark on their resume, they tend to not provide an equal amount of time to their LinkedIn profile. These days, recruiters are much more likely to come across your LinkedIn profile than they are your resume. Therefore, take the necessary time required to not only ensure there are no spelling or gramatical errors, but to make your page as robust as possible by adding your experience, skills, and interests.

“For most people, rightly or wrongly, spelling and grammatical errors in your profile are going to make people think that you’re either stupid or careless. Or both. I ran across one guy whose profile showed he worked at 'Hewlitt-Packard.' True story.” - Geoffry James,

3. Research - LinkedIn is an excellent resource to take the time to gather information about companies you may be interested in joining. Not only do you get to see where they are located and the number of employees they have, you have the ability to drill down even further and take a look at the profiles of employees who may have the same skillset as you. When going into an interview, employers greatly appreciate and respect someone who is prepared and is knowledgeable about the firm they are interviewing with. The site has some excellent tips on how to research companies through LinkedIn.

4. Reach Out - Just creating a profile will not be enough to truly network via LinkedIn. You need to begin to connect with friends and family as well as other associates. Connecting with as many people as possible gives you the best chance to ask for introductions to connect with the true influencers in your space. That said, there is a fine line of who you should be reaching out to. Unless you have indeed met the person, it comes off as spam to the recipient if you aren’t honest with how you know the individual.

"One major pet peeve of mine when it comes to LinkedIn requests is when people who don't know you say you're a 'friend,' or that you have done business with them at their current company." - Scott Swanay - Sherpa Social Media

5. Get Recommendations - Many college students are hesitant to ask for recommendations as they feel they don’t have sufficient experience in the vertical in which they are seeking employment. The truth is that you have to start somewhere. Don’t hesitate to ask for a recommendation from a professor in a course you're excelling at or your manager at your internship. Even a job in service related fields that may not be pertinent to your desired field will show potential employers that people speak highly of you and your ability to handle yourself appropriately in front of customers.In the end, people taking the time to vouch for you goes a long way in the eyes of a recruiter.

Don't request a recommendation directly through the LinkedIn form, but rather through an email or phone call. It is a favor to ask for a recommendation, so doing so in a personal manner with plenty of gratitude is appreciated. It's important to be very specific about why the person is recommending you. Just stating a quality could seem hollow to the recruiter, so ask the writer to provide detail as to what tasks you were responsible for and what you achieved.

6. Join Groups - When attempting to connect with people, having a shared interest is a great baseline for beginning a conversation. Joining the ‘Young Professionals’ group or a LinkedIn group in the space you are interested in is an excellent starting point to not only garner knowledge of your field, but to understand who the thought leaders are. This provides an excellent manner to connect with those thought leaders as well as other influential people. When looking to connect with someone in a shared group, LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to notify the individual that you are in the same group, which gives you a much better chance of securing the connection and beginning a conversation.

7. Be Active in Groups - Simply joining some groups will not be nearly as effective as digging in and being active in the group. When people realize you are taking an active role in discussions, you build up a reputation of sorts. They will be more apt to assist you down the road, whether it is with another introduction, or more importantly, a potential job opportunity. For someone you aren’t yet connected to in a shared group, it goes a long way when they search your involvement in that group.

There are plenty of groups that make sense to join for the job seeker, but only if you go out and make a point to be active in a group. The popular site TheUndercoverRecruiter lists out 10 of the best groups to join.

8. Connect with Companies of Interest - Many Human Resources departments routinely send out new openings via LinkedIn. Being on that list gives you a leg up from other potential candidates. You can also research to understand what companies may be of the most interest to you for a potential place of employment. Pick up small anecdotes about the company that can be used to your advantage in a face-to-face interview and show you have taken interest in the firm. LinkedIn provides a detailed example with exactly how to follow companies to ensure you are kept abreast of all developments from firms you're interested in.

"You can look at employee profiles and find out what kinds of people the company has hired in the past, what companies employees come from, if you went to school with any of them , etc.," Tony Beshara, President, Babich and Associates

9. Make Yourself Easily Accessible - You could have the most well put together LinkedIn page possible, but if you don’t have your contact information front and center, you could be passed over by a recruiter. Ensure you clearly list both your email as well as telephone number.

"In your profile, include your contact details (email, telephone, whatever you want) in the summary and/or personal information area. If you don’t make it easy for me, then I am going to go on to other candidates." Ron Machol - Professional Recruiter

10. Give More Than You Take - With all of the above strategic initiatives, there is one that's just as important: help out others and expect nothing in return. As your account becomes established, there will be people who will be in the same boat that you are in now. Remember the people who helped you along the way, and don’t be shy providing introductions and help to others, as you never know how that will come back to help you in the future.

  • Be Active - When someone leaves their university, they usually have a good idea as to what field they're interested in. It makes sense to understand the various websites and web communities people in those respective fields frequent. Learning as much as you can in your field, as well as becoming an active participant, is going to assist you in networking with people who could be the assistance you need to come into your dream job.

Be Active in Communities Outside of LinkedIn

Now that you know who the influencers are in your space, you will begin to understand the websites that are of interest to people in the respective vertical. Begin to engage in those communities, even if it's only in the comments section to start. You will get to know people as well as have a forum to discuss your interest and skill set. While finding the pertinent communities or sites won’t be instantaneous, Hinge Marketing put together a search function for relevant communities to begin your study.

Since you have Google Alerts as well as Social Alert tool functioning, they should be monitored frequently to ensure you know when a discussion arises that you should be involved in. The instant gratification of social media allows you to address issues almost instantaneously, and when you show people that you are engaged in these communities, it can give you a leg up against others who simply put together a resume.

  • Become a Thought Leader - Now that you have become active in communities related to your field, you are most likely aware of the thought leaders in your vertical. It would now help to begin writing pieces on your own to place on your personal site. It may be daunting to think of becoming a thought leader at this part of your career, but you can pick a niche and expand on it. Creating something useful for people will help your site attain more visitors as well as rise up the search engines to make your web profile look even more professional to a potential employer.

Taking the time and energy to begin researching fields you may be interested in and writing small pieces about your chosen field on your blog will begin to create the footing for a reputation of being knowledgeable in your field. Ensure the pieces are deemed both useful and informative to the audience you are trying to reach. While it may seem daunting to feel you have the ability to go out and create copy that would be seen as ‘useful’ to people in your field, here are some tips to help get you started. Be involved - Join the proper groups, and if possible, attend relevant conferences on your topic.

Learn Who the Current Thought Leaders Are and Read Their Writings - In order to learn, you need to learn what the experts have to say, grasp it, and then read some more.

Begin to Write Yourself - While it may be slow at first, develop a niche of what you like to write about it and take it from there.

Creating meaningful pieces of content will begin to bring people back to your blog time and time again, and will also potentially help you in garnering some links to your work. This strategy, without question, will help your site creep up the search results.

  • Build Reputation - By authoring well-thought out pieces, it gives you an excellent reason to reach out to the thought leaders who may be interested in your content. It's always easier to network with influential people when you are coming to them with something that could be useful. It's also important to link your Google+ profile to your site where the content is hosted. Doing so will give the content a personal touch as your photo will begin to appear with it when it appears in the Google results, once again creating more positive content for your online reputation profile.

Share Your Pieces with Influencers

As you become accustomed to creating relevant pieces for your site, you can begin to reach out to people or sites in the space that would be interested in your content. This step should only be taken with your best pieces you have created, but could be an excellent stepping stone to have your material published on important sites. Being able to reference your writings being ‘published’ in various places is great for your resume as well as your LinkedIn profile. Plus, each of these pieces could appear in the search engines when someone is searching for your name, which would result in your postive content being put in front of a recruiter.

This may seem like a daunting task, but one potential method is to reference these influencers in your post. Let’s be honest, people like being referred to as an ‘expert’, so paying a person a compliment could go a long way in having them link to your content. When reaching out, don’t make the request all about you, but rather how your content could help the readership of the site in question. If your content isn’t relevant to that site, don’t bother sending the email.

Link Your Google+ Profile to Your Blog

By filling out a simple form on Google, you can give your content a personal feel. Once your email address and domain are confirmed and Google crawls the site, the search engine will show a headshot next to pieces of content you create. To many people, having a photo next to your site in the search engines creates an air of professionalism.

  • Succeed & Monitor - The average person spends only 4.4 years at a job, so even after you land your first job out of college, it's not time to forget about your online reputation. Continue to monitor the results on a regular basis, as you never know when an even better opportunity could present itself. As you come in to your first position, you should also continue to think about college graduates in the coming years and how you can assist them with the tools you have acquired in how to properly manage your online reputation.

Continue to Monitor the Search Results

As you go through each of the steps laid out in this document, you aren’t done just yet. The results you see on Google are quite fluid. You should continue to monitor the search results for your name not only during the job search, but afterwards as well. People work very hard to protect their name, and the last thing you would want is for something to show up in the search engines that you were not even aware of.

“Search engines are a fluid environment and will forever be "in flux." This is the nature of a sites participation in a search engine.” - Fernando Cuis - President, Cuis Interactive


While the steps detailed here may take a significant amount of time to accomplish, they shouldn’t just be looked at as a means to be seen by a recruiter or potential employer. You are developing important skills for the rest of your career, such as organizational skills by developing your social media profiles, writing skills by creating a topical blog or website, and improving your knowledge in your field of interest. Most importantly, you are developing the valuable trait of networking with people. Remember: the journey does not end with finding your first job. Instead, it's just a series of steps you will take throughout your entire career.

References:,8599,1893965,00.html- Why Google Wants You to ‘Google’ Yourself - Associated Press article detailing the importance of online reputation management for college students  - How Recruiters Use LinkedIn - Survey regarding how many people are looking for work in 2013 - How to Land a Job in 2013 - Five Must-Haves for Social Media Management - SEO heat map showing the percentage of clicks to each listing on page one of Google - Article about how one in five companies are passing on a candidate from what they see on social media - Protecting Yourself in Social Media - Projecting a Professional Image on LinkedIn - Killing your credibility on LinkedIn - How to make great connections on LinkedIn - Everything you need to know about LinkedIn recommendations - Ten LinkedIn Groups Job Seekers should join - How to connect with an employer via LinkedIn - Six Mistakes Job Seekers Make on LinkedIn - Why Don’t Job Seekers Use LinkedIn Correctly? Finding the Right Industry Specific Group - Three steps to becoming a thought leader - Social recruiting trends in 2012