What happened when I Googled myself.

Recently I delivered a workshop on how to craft a standout resume. During the tips and hints section I stressed the need to have a professional e-mail address. It might have been hilarious when you created it but ilovegoon@gmail.com is not going to get you a lot of love from a prospective employer. Some of the attendees were doubtful that something as minor as an inappropriate e-mail address could have such impact. I assured them that many employers would immediately disregard any applications from such e-mail addresses. I myself had done so on numerous occasions when shortlisting, particularly when there are over 100 applications to get through.

“You also need to be careful about your digital footprint” I cautioned. “Employers can and will google you to see what comes up, and if they don’t like what they see there goes your chance of being shortlisted”.

 “That doesn’t really happen does it?” asked one attendee, particularly concerned about the impact her daughter’s on-line activities may have on her future employment opportunities. 

 “It certainly does” I replied. “If you’re at all concerned, just put your daughter’s name into any internet search engine and see what comes up. That is what an employer will see”.

As the group broke up about an hour later I overheard a few murmurs about “googling myself” with at least one attendee headed straight to the local library to try it out.

Later that night as I was relaxing in front of the television I thought back to that workshop and decided I should probably take my own advice. So, with a few nervous butterflies in my stomach about what I might find, I did it. I googled myself.

Here’s What I Found

My first thought when looking over the search results was “ooh, someone’s made a Wikipedia entry about me!” Alas no, it turns out that there is a very famous female cricketer with the same name.

The second result was a link to all of the Facebook profiles of people with my name. This will be a common result for anyone with a Facebook page and probably the first place an employer will look.

Completely confident that I had turned all available privacy settings on so only my Facebook “friends” could see my posts, photos and information I left it at that.

I kept scrolling, reviewing each result on the first page without success. Not one was actually about me. From an employer perspective this is good – if there isn’t a result on the first page they usually won’t look any further. However I was feeling a little miffed, there may not have been any negative results but there were no positive results either. So I searched again, this time adding my location after my name. That’s when I hit the jackpot – my LinkedIn profile came up first! This is exactly the result you want, after all LinkedIn isn’t referred to as “Facebook for work” for nothing. A prospective employer can see your experience, your qualifications and your interests all in the one place – a great way for them to determine if you would fit in to their organisation.

What About Pictures?

Luckily the first picture I saw when I adjusted my search to just images was my LinkedIn profile picture – the first result any serious professional wants to come up. And thankfully that was the only image of me that came up. No New Year’s Eve celebrations for prospective employers to pour over!

Back to Facebook

It wasn’t until the next morning that I decided it was worth having a closer look at my Facebook profile. Obviously as I was searching my own profile I would be able to see everything, which meant I couldn’t check what a prospective employer might see. So I asked a colleague who was not one of my Facebook friends to google my profile and see what came up, just to be certain. Imagine my surprise when they were able to see all of my photos and friends, although thankfully they were unable to see any of my posts. It turns out that Facebook update their privacy settings incredibly frequently, so even if you think you have made your account completely private that could change without you even knowing it. My suggestion would be to check your privacy settings every couple of months to make sure they are still as you want them.

As unfair as it might seem, in the digital age anything you put on-line is considered fair game to prospective employers. If they can find it, they will take it in to account when assessing your suitability for their organisations. So be smart, and keep things professional – or, if you simply must post those photos of you passed out in the middle of the local footy oval after celebrating a win, make sure your privacy settings are on as high as possible!

Written by our resume queen, Christina. If you need help with your online presence, book in to our upcoming workshop series.

Don’t think it.. Do it!!

I was reading a blog recently about a 3-minute fix for procrastination.  I am a terrible procrastinator and I thought it might help me.

Within minutes however, I was analysing the blog itself. Was it really just a lot of American psychobabble, or was I really that avoidant? Consequently I started to trawl online for several other sites, looking for a more authoritative voice about why I might over think things before I start. Wow, that really lead to further procrastination. Was I too scared to start things because I might fail, or was I afraid of the responsibilities I may have if I succeed?

Within an hour, I had a million reasons in front of me as to why I might find it hard to get started and the 3-minute fix to procrastination had expanded to a 90-minute psychological assessment of my life.  My original task nowhere in sight!

I suppose the reason I share this with you is because clients often come to our Centre stuck in a cycle of procrastination too, “ Will it be the right job?”, “Should I have taken that course?”,  “ What if I am under qualified?”, “What if I fail?”, “What if it leads nowhere?” and around again until it can become crippling. In truth none of us can really predict the future, and there are no guarantees in life, however the benefit of taking some time out to reflect, or chatting to a career counsellor may help you to get off the treadmill of overthinking.

Recently in one of my mindfulness classes we were introduced to the concept of the 3-minute breathing space, to calm and refocus our minds. Many assume mindful meditation is a state of hypnotic navel gazing that transports you to enlightenment or nirvana via your deity of choice. This is not the case. The 3-minute breathing space does not take you to nirvana, comes with no candles or music and has no deity. It is a down to earth, realistic tool that can get you refocused in under 3 minutes.

Sounds ridiculous I hear you say, or only for “those” people you might scoff, but simply slowing down your breathing, acknowledging your surrounds and breathing into the moment can ground you to take action.

Breathing is the most powerful tool you have to calm yourself for any challenging circumstance and its free and fully available.

You might need to do it prior to an interview, to get started on that application or to deal with a difficult moment or person in your life.

All you need is stillness, oxygen, and a willingness to step outside of your chatty mind.

I have used the 3 minute breathing space waiting for medical appointments, in the car at school pick up, whilst trying to refocus on my projects, and even waiting for friends in a café. I actually breathed myself so well into my happy space while waiting in that café that I became annoyed with the waiters perpetually asking me for an order. Didn’t they know I came to cafes to breathe, not drink coffee???

This fear of the “what ifs”, or the “should I’s” as mentioned earlier, can literally permeate the brain and keep people from taking action. Metaphorically speaking we are far more scared of letting the light in, than the light itself. So taking the first step to start that resume, book that appointment or sign up for that course will not be so hard once you physically make a start. Sometimes the fear of actually finding that you may have success in a new career or job can be as scary as staying stuck in the same place. We can be equally afraid of living up to our potential and greatness as well as failing miserably because both come with responsibilities and expectations we have of our peers and ourselves.

Without a doubt a job transition or career change can be challenging or even brutal. But if we are not a little brave by taking a punt or two, we may sit in a state of flux and/or procrastination for a very long time.  We are talking small steps here, not leaping tall buildings in a single bound.  If we acknowledge that it might take time and we might need assistance it makes it so much easier.  So, the 3 minute fix for procrastination may not be the only solution, but using the 3 minute breathing space, physical exercise, a companion to keep you on track, a mentor, diarising your time or just being honest with yourself may get your started again.

As some rather large well known footwear organisation says, “Just do it!”

There is nothing to fear but fear itself, and your career is in your hands.

For really practical tips see the following articles.

1. Why you procrastinate and how to stop it

2. The 3-minute breathing space, your opportunity to practice

Written by Erika, our Workshop Wizard. If you need some help getting on track, book an appointment with Erika or any of the Skills and Jobs Centre advisors.

Picture credit: jill111CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)