Have you ever Googled your own name? That may not be a question you hear often, but when you take the time to do so, you may be surprised by what you find. Believe it or not, most employers Google the names of prospective employment candidates to see what they can find, and you do not want them to find your Purim pictures on Facebook.
Even when there are no pictures or blog posts that you are trying to hide, employers want to see that potential candidates have a web presence. A Google search that produces no relevant results is almost as bad as a search that produces negative information. It is for that reason that it is absolutely critical that every person create an account on www.linkedin.com/.
What is Linkedin? To put it simply, Linkedin is Facebook without all the schmutz. Instead of focusing on pictures of your latest party or relating the tale of the cutest thing ever that your daughter just did, Linkedin is a site devoted to professional networking.
My wife and I had been house shopping in West Hempstead for more than a year without any luck. A status update on Linkedin led to a rare house rental opportunity near the shul, and we moved less than 3 months later.
That was a rather rare occurrence, however. Primarily, Linkedin is a way to connect with other professionals to create business opportunities. Linkedin users connect with people that they know who are in turn connected with their own groups of associates. “Your network consists of your connections, your connections’ connections, and the people they know, linking you to a vast number of qualified professionals and experts: http://press.linkedin.com/about.”
The first step after creating your free Linkedin account is designing your profile. Effective Linkedin profiles include all of the professional basics including a summary of qualifications, work history, a professional picture and updates on your current work related projects.
People often wonder if it is wise to share so much personal information on the Internet. While I understand those concerns, the truth is there is very little we can do to hide anymore. If someone wants it, they can have a satellite image of and a map to your house with just a few keystrokes. (If you don’t believe me try conducting a search for your name on www.intelius.com/.)
In any event, Linkedin does have a number of privacy settings that can be used by those who are truly worried.
For employers, Linkedin presents the most effective opportunity to collect all of the relevant and up-to-date information about a prospective employee, and the best part is that the job seeker has the ability to control exactly what the employer finds!
Are you going for a job interview? How much information do you know about the person that is interviewing you? A Linkedin search can reveal pertinent information about the interviewer that can be incorporated into your interview answers.
You may be wondering how Linkedin can help you if you already have a job. Linkedin has become a favorite tool for human resources professionals who are looking to “steal” qualified talent from other employers. Even if you are not interested in changing jobs, your Linkedin profile is a great way for prospective clients to find you.
So, when you Google yourself, what do you find? It took a concerted effort on my part, given the fame of the late great Rabbi Chaim Shapiro of Go My Son fame (no relation), but 95 percent of the time when you Google my name, my Linkedin profile comes up first. Even though my daughter does do an incredible amount of cute things, my profile is what I prefer people find when they are looking for me.
Chaim Shapiro: M.Ed. is the assistant director of Career Services at Touro College and a social media consultant. He holds a Master’s Degree in College Administration from Loyola University Chicago. He is the founder of the largest Orthodox online networking group, the Frum Network on Linkedin. He welcomes comments, suggestions and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.