Is it arrogant to Google yourself?
I can see why you might think so. It’s certainly an uncomfortable feeling to admit you care what other people think about you. It’s like letting someone catch you checking yourself out in the mirror. I remember the first time I Googled myself, it had a tinge of that awkward “should I really be doing this?” feeling.
But let’s take a step back. Is it arrogant to look over your resume or your cover letter? It is conceited to review your sales materials before you send them out to potential clients?
Of course not. Now why is that? Well, your resume and cover letter are the first things employers look at before they decide to invite you to an interview. So it would be foolish to not look them over and actively improve upon them.
Meanwhile, sales materials are the supporting documents you use to communicate and strengthen your credibility. Ultimately, they’ll influence a client’s purchasing decision, so why wouldn’t you look them over and seek out opportunities to upgrade them?
Now what about your own search results? Is it arrogant to look at those?
Consider this: 75 percent of HR departments are required to look applicants up online before inviting them to an interview. And 70 percent have turned down applicants based on something negative they found.
Would you ever trust a stranger to write your resume or cover letter? Would you let a competitor compile your sales materials? Of course not. So why would you let the rest of the world determine what people find about you online?
What shows up in your Google results could mean the difference between a job and the unemployment line. There’s no excuse for being unaware. In fact, it’s downright irresponsible.
Now consider that employers aren’t the only ones doing this.
If you gave out your business card in the last 10 years, you’ve probably been searched online. If you’ve been on a first date recently, chances are you’ve been Googled. (I met my fiancée on Tinder and I know she looked me up online before we ever met in person.)
Potential clients, business partners -- even first dates -- are looking you up online to see what they can find.
If you don’t know what people are finding out about you online, then you won’t know your opportunities for improvement. It’s like sending in a resume you’ve never reviewed. It’s like sending out sales materials that you never approved.
By checking yourself out online, you stumble upon irrelevant information or inconsistencies, much like finding a bad typo or old information on your resume. Perhaps there are photos you uploaded years ago or an embarrassing status update you don’t remember posting.
Once you know what’s out there, it will become clear what you like and where you can improve. You’ll realize which social media properties you want to delete and which ones you want clean up with a quick social scan. You’ll discover which positive properties you can link to, which ones have outdated information, and which ones you’ll want to suppress.
We live in a world where your online reputation can be your strongest asset or your biggest liability. Where sales and marketing are actually better executed by employees with strong personal brands than by the brands themselves. A world where companies hire not based on resumes and cover letters, but on information they find online. It has never been easier to grow a massive following and become a celebrity in your industry.
Personal branding is becoming less of a competitive edge and more of a requirement for anyone looking to grow their business, get that dream job or take their career to the next level.
Still think it’s arrogant to take a look?