You Might Want to Google Yourself Before You Apply for That Job

Your future employer will — is your digital persona showing up the way you want it to?

Erica Dhawan


Photo: LinkedinSalesNavigator/Unsplash

Getting a job in today’s world is all about making a great first impression online. Research shows it takes only 7 seconds to make an in-person first impression. So how do we make sure our virtual first impressions convey confidence and preparedness?

With virtually no body language to read — even today’s video meetings are scarce of eye contact or hand gestures — it’s worth thinking about what tools you can use to distinguish yourself. Here are the three steps to take.

1) Curate your professional identity with your digital persona

In a digital world, who we are online is likely the first impression we show the world and, just like in real life, first impressions matter. Before I hire anyone, whether it’s a babysitter or a marketing consultant, I google them. Most employers do this, but more and more I hear stories of peers doing it to one another, and parents doing it to their kids’ friends. My neighbor once confessed she even googled our doorman.

Let’s break down the main components of our digital personas:

Your Name. Across social media, use just your name, no funky middle names, no movie character names, etc. Just be you.

Your Email Address. Do you have a Yahoo!, Hotmail, or Gmail account? Are there numbers after your name, signifying a potential outdated email address?

Your Profile Picture. Is there a photo that comes up alongside your email address on Outlook or Gmail? It’s good to put a face to the messages people see by adding a clear, professional picture.

Your Search Results. After plugging in your name, what are the first three websites that come up? Do you have your own branded website? Were you quoted in your local newspaper on a politically charged topic?

All that gives me a sense of who you are. Ideally what people find should tell them that you’re professional and trustworthy, the opposite of someone with, say, easily searchable mugshots. Make sure your LinkedIn is updated, so that people can easily find things about you in your…



Erica Dhawan

Keynote Speaker on 21st Century Teamwork and Innovation. Author, GET BIG THINGS DONE and DIGITAL BODY LANGUAGE (ORDER HERE: