Jim Hopkinson is an author, writer, and speaker living in New York City. His focus is on career development for the new economy, showing how new media, technology and branding are changing how people look at their career and lifestyle. Read more...
The question today isn't IF a hiring manager will do a Google search on your name (studies report 75% of companies are required to do so), it's what they will the find when they do it. Who wouldn't want to help control what people see and put their best foot forward?
True story: I was once speaking to a group of students about the importance of owning their own domain name (ie, yourname.com) when job searching. I quoted the stat above, talked about how a good search result could help push down negative results (ie, those beer pong photos from spring break), and the fact that it was very easy and very cheap to do so. The next day on the classroom chat board, someone posted "Does anyone know of any free places to register your name? All the ones I found require a credit card."
Now, I could understand if I had said the following: "Building a website is very important to getting a job, even though it takes about 40 hours of work and costs about $3,000." I get it, students are poor. Free is better than paid. But in reality, it takes less than 10 minutes to set up a very simple website, and the cost is about $12 -- a year! It was very difficult for him to argue that $1 per month was not a good "investment" toward building a brand and increasing the chances of getting hired.
But what stuck with me is that creating a website still seems like a daunting and intimidating task for many people. Don’t let it be. (I ended up recording a step-by-step tutorial to walk them through the process, and it was only 7 minutes).