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I just met with a prospective client who seemed to know everything about me -- everything I have written, everything I have said to reporters, every comment I have posted to blogs....


She told me she Googles consultants before she decides if she wants to meet with them.
I felt fortunate that my Google results helped get me in the door. The truth is: Personal googling is a phenomenon. In a recent BusinessWeek article, I read that 35% of executive recruiters admit to eliminating candidates based on their Google results.
In a world where you're being Googled by your colleagues, business partners, customers, hiring managers, etc., it's important that you have a powerful and relevant on-line profile. I am writing an article for MarketingProfs about this very topic, so watch out for it. In the meantime, here's something you can do to get an understanding of your on-line profile.
Have you Googled yourself recently? It's called self-Googling or egosurfing. And it's something you should be doing regularly. In fact, Google yourself right now (in this format: "William Arruda") to see what google reveals.
What's the quantity of entries (seen in the upper right hand corner of the results page)? Are the results consistent with your personal brand? Do they clearly communicate your unique promise of value? From the results of your search, determine which of the following profiles best describes your current on-line identity:
Digitally Disguised
There is absolutely nothing about you on the Web. Your Google search yielded no results. This is easy to remedy, but you'd better get started right away.
Digitally Dissed
When you fall into this category, there is little on the Web about you, and what is there is either negative or inconsistent with what you want to be known for. Although not where you want to be, it is easy to improve your on-line profile. Just a small number of on-brand entries will enhance your digital identity.
Digitally Disastrous
This is the most challenging situation because there is lots of information about you on the Web, but it has little relevance to what you want to express about yourself. It may also include Google results about someone else who shares your name, creating confusion (for people with common names, this is a serious challenge). It will take a concerted effort to augment these results with enough highly ranked relevant results to ensure that your personal brand is being clearly communicated.
Digitally Dabbling
There is already some on-brand information on the Web about you. Although the volume of results is not high, the material that is there is relevant and consistent with your personal brand. This indicates you have a foundation on which you can build your on-line profile.
Digitally Distinct
This is nirvana in the world of on-line identity. There are lots of results about you and most, if not all, reinforce your unique promise of value .... - your personal brand.
The dynamic nature of the Web affords you an incredible opportunity to have the on-line profile you need to help you express your personal brand and reach your goals. This same dynamism requires that you stay connected and build a proactive plan to manage your on-line identity.
In a world that is becoming more and more virtual, your on-line profile is becoming a more important element in your personal branding plan. If you make a steadfast effort to expand your on-line presence, increasing your visibility and credibility, you'll be on a direct route to digital distinction.
Kirsten Dixson and I are writing a comprehensive manifesto about building your on-line identity. If you would like to see it published so you can download a complimentary copy, please vote for our proposal at changethis.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of William Arruda

William Arruda is a personal branding pioneer, the founder and CEO of Reach Personal Branding, and the author of Ditch. Dare. Do! 3D Personal Branding for Executives.

Twitter: @williamarruda

LinkedIn: William Arruda