If you're not vain enough to have Googled yourself lately, you may want to give it a try. Not for an ego boost, but rather to assess what comes up—and what you might get rid of in order to look your best for others. Consider it digital grooming. After all, you may not be searching online for your name but people like your dates, clients and future bosses probably are. These days, it's basically a guarantee that people have a perception of you before they even talk to you. Herewith, a few ways to clean up your "personal brand" online.
Start by thinking like a search engine. Come up with the words and combinations of words that people would likely use to look you up, from your job and school to other affiliations. Remove anything from the past that pops up that could be detrimental to your reputation like old social media profiles, embarrassing photos or old website comments that no longer represent your points of view.
You want to take a proactive approach and think of these various social media platforms along with your personal website (if you have one) as marketing for yourself. So for starters, don't post anything you wouldn't read aloud to your boss, significant other and maybe even your grandmother. Use the same profile pic across all your channels so as not to present conflicting identities online. But don't whitewash your identity either. Your profile should reflect who you are and in many ways, can help you score the job or date you want. Alison Green, an employment consultant who runs Ask a Manager, says that being a smart, thoughtful commenter on websites in your field or by writing a clever blog of your own will highlight your strengths and give searchers a better sense of your interests.
Add Fresh Content
You want the standards like your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to be up high in the rankings. Most people don't bother clicking past the second page of results. Those search algorithms are looking for fresh content, so updating and adding new information to your profiles is an easy way to boost them. And if you have something that you want to push further down the search engine rankings, your best bet is to put out new, more relevant content.
This one is a bit counter-intuitive, as social media has evolved into selectively picking out the best, most interesting moments of your life and sharing them with relative strangers to show off a bit. But it's also a way to stay in contact with real-life friends. Switching all your accounts to private will ensure that the only people viewing your personal photos and polarizing opinions will be those who know you (and have already agreed not to judge). Of course, to potential dates or employers, finding this "private" block can look a bit concerning. But at least it won't get you fired.