Your Best Job Search Information Source

For a Shorter, Smarter Job Search

Power Your Personal Brand Using Google Alerts

By Meg Guiseppi

Do you realize that when job-hunting you're in a sales and marketing campaign for your company of one – BRAND YOU INC.? Your mission is to pitch your value proposition to prospective employers and get them to choose you over your competition.

But how can you know what messaging (through your resume, LinkedIn profile and other career marketing communications) you'll need to create to resonate with employers if you don't know exactly which employers you're targeting?

Step 1 in your job search is getting clear about what kind of job you want and targeting the companies and organizations that will provide that opportunity.

Step 2 – research and identify 15-20 companies/organizations that will fulfill your needs, along with key decision makers within each one, which you'll work on connecting with.

Step 3 – set up an account at Google Alerts with Alerts for the following:

  • Your name
  • Your blog and website names
  • Names of your target companies and/or those you want to be informed about
  • Names of key decision makers in your target companies
  • Key word phrases relevant to your niche
  • Names of your target companies' relevant products or services
  • Names of subject matter experts in your niche
  • Names of any people whose radar you want to get on.

[For step-by-step instructions on setting up Google Alerts, read Job-Hunt's Using Google Alerts article.]

What makes Google Alerts so valuable?

Almost as it happens, you'll receive an email with links to the highest-ranked latest news and information published on the Web relevant to your chosen Alerts.

Although some of the Alerts you receive will not be helpful, many will. Some of them will lead you to information and resources you never would have found otherwise.

And Google Alerts will lead you to places where you can position your value proposition – or personal brand – and generate interest in you and evangelism for your brand.

Some of the ways Alerts are helpful:

  • To keep an eye on market trends and opportunities.
  • To provide targeted industry and company research for due diligence, market intelligence, and to position yourself as an informed, engaged candidate in interviews.
  • To help you track where your target key decision makers are hanging out, what they're talking about, and what they're working on.
  • To uncover challenges facing your target companies, aiding you in communicating your value proposition to help them overcome those issues.

Tips for using Alerts for better blogging and tweeting:

  • Act quickly on an Alert for a relevant blog post and try to be the first one who comments on it.

    First-responders' comments stay at the top of the queue, and the link you provide is much more likely to be clicked on, leading people to whatever information you need them to know about you. If it's a blog with good link weight, your comment will land high in search results when people Google "your name," positioning yourself as social media-savvy and a subject matter expert (if you've written a compelling comment).
  • Alerts generate ideas for your own blog posts and tweets.
  • Alerts send you relevant tweets which you can re-tweet and help build brand evangelism.
  • If you receive an Alert connected to a blog post you've written within an hour or two of publishing it, you'll know Google considers it highly relevant and will be sending other searchers to the post when they Google matching keywords.
  • Identify relevant sites where you may be able to publish an article or guest blog, building online brand visibility.

Your takeaway:

Google Alerts is an essential resource to add to your personal brand toolkit. They keep you apprised of what people are saying about you online, what others in your company and industry are up to, and the latest trends within your niche and areas of interest.

Bottom Line

Through the information Google Alerts provides, you'll connect with new information, thereby expanding your knowledge base, and penetrate new communities of forward-thinking subject matter experts to extend your network.

[More on Using Google for Job Search and Defensive Googling.]

About the author...

Meg Guiseppi, Job-Hunt's Personal Branding Expert and 20+ year careers industry veteran, has earned 10 certifications, including Reach Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Reach Social Branding Analyst – LinkedIn Profile Strategist, and Certified Executive Resume Master. Meg is the author of "23 Ways You Sabotage Your Executive Job Search and How Your Brand Will Help You Land." Connect with Meg at for c-suite personal branding and executive job search help and on Twitter (@MegGuiseppi). And, you may also download Meg's free ebook - Job-Hunt Guide to Smart Personal Branding with LinkedIn.