Yes, you DO have a “Google Resume,” whether you know it or not. And whether or not you are paying attention.
I’m not talking about a resume you submit to Google for a job there. Your Google resume is what recruiters, and others, find when they search Google for your name.
Famous author Richard N. Bolles, who writes the classic career management best seller “What Color Is Your Parachute?” stated in 2009 —
“Google is the new resume.”
As usual, Dick Bolles was absolutely right, then, and he’s even more right NOW. (If you haven’t read his book, you should, particularly if you are having trouble deciding on your next job. The most current editions have a chapter devoted to Google Resumes.)
What Is YOUR “Google Resume”?
Your Google Resume is what Google shows the world in the results of a search for your name.
After you submit a resume or application for a job, recruiters do this research 90%+ of the time. They want to verify the facts you included on your resume and get a sense of your personality and “fit” for their job.
To find your Google Resume, type the versions of your name you use on your resume and in social media into a Google search bar, and scan the first 3 pages of results.
Read Finding the Best Version of Your Name Your Job Search and Your Most Important Keywords for more information.
Think of all the times you use Google to search for information when you are trying to find something or learn more about something, particularly when you are considering spending money or time.
Employers and recruiters do the same thing, but they are researching to find qualified job candidates or learn more about job applicants.
Because of those searches, each of us has a Google Resume, today. And, if it’s a good resume, showing how professional and skilled we are, that new job can find us.
Usually in a hurry, recruiters seldom look past the first two pages of search results. Often, they don’t look below the top half of the first page. That’s usually a good thing.
Pay close attention to what is on the first page of Google search results in a search for your name. Also pay attention to what is on the second and later pages because those entries can move up or down and from page to page fairly rapidly depending on how popular an entry seems to be.
Lack of Visibility on Google Is VERY Bad
If there is nothing about you in a Google search for your name, that’s not “a good thing.”
CareerBuilder research in 2018 showed that 47% of employers are less likely to call you in for an interview if they cannot find you online.
Obviously, you have a very serious online reputation management problem if you are invisible online. Searchers will make bad assumptions:
You are out-of-date.
Unless your profession requires you to be invisible on Google (spy?), you look like you don’t understand how to operate in today’s online social and business environment, and, thus, are not appealing to employers.
You are hiding something.
You are invisible because you have something to hide, and you don’t want to be found. Whatever you are hiding is probably something that would mean you are not a good job candidate.
Someone else may be found.
Unless your name is so unique that no one else has it, you are vulnerable to mistaken online identity. Someone else may be found in that search, and they may be unqualified for the jobs you want, have an unprofessional image, or have done something an employer would not want in an employee. End of opportunities for you!
Frequently, searchers are looking for results showing a LinkedIn Profile. The good news is that LinkedIn Profiles are very visible on Google, usually within the top 5 entries on that first page, and they are also very popular with recruiters.
But, a Google Resume is much more than a LinkedIn Profile. What Google shows the world associated with a name is the core of that person’s personal online reputation management.
Impact of a Google Resume
Since most recruiters and employers reseach job candidates online before hiring them, your Google Resume has a BIG impact on your career, even if you are not paying attention.
A colleague shared a very scary story about one of her clients. This is a tale that many job seekers should know about because research has shown that this is very likely a common occurrence — much more common than you probably know.
My colleague prepared an excellent resume for her client which he used in several months of job hunting.
After absolutely NO response to resume submissions in 4 months, they finally decided to Google him to see if something of someone might be causing a problem. BINGO!
That Google search (finally!) showed them that this job seeker had a serious reputation management problem!
Someone else using the same name was involved in a U.S. Supreme Court obscenity case!
My colleague’s client was not the person named in the obscenity case, but it didn’t matter because that person had the same name as the client and the client had minimal online visibility.
Someone who didn’t know him, like a recruiter receiving his resume, wouldn’t know that he was not the person in the obscenity case. Result: many opportunities lost!
By adding his middle initial to the name he used on his LinkedIn Profile, resume, business cards, etc, the client was employed within 2 months. For more details about this story, read How Name Confusion Can Make Your Job Search More Difficult.
The Best Defense
As usual, the best defense is a good offense. Know that Google shows the world in association with your name when someone searches — a potential or even your current employer — because the searches will be done.
Practice “Defensive Googling” to see what Google search results show, and set up Google Alerts to be notified of major changes. Claim and leverage your name with LinkedIn by having a robust All-Star Profile, many connections, and consistent activity in LinkedIn.
Change the version of the name you use professionally if you must. Or, find anther way to distance youself from someone with the same name who has misbehaved by emphasizing your location (if different from their’s), your professional certification (when possible), or other differentiator.
The Bottom Line
Ignoring your Google Resume is not really a good option. Recruiters and employers will do their searches. If you are not there, or if there is something bad found, your job search will be longer and more difficult.
Now that you have found your Google Resume, you need to Manage Your Google Resume and learn how to effectively practice Personal SEO (Search Engine Optimization) — using the right words for you in the right places on your LinkedIn Profile, resumes, and other online visibility.
More About Managing Your Online Reputation
- Finding the Best Version of Your Name for Your Job Search
- Monitor Your Online Reputation with Google Alerts
- Making a Great First Impression on Employers
- How Name Confusion Can Make Your Job Search More Difficult
- Using LinkedIn for Personal Online Reputation Management
- Build Your Online Reputation with Twitter
- Guide to Social Proof for Your Job Search
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn.
More about this author…