Online Profile Benchmarks

I've written a couple of times about why I believe it is important for people to take control of their online profile to, if nothing else, avoid surprises when engaged in very offline activities such as interviewing. My opinion on this matter hasn't changed, but recently I read an article that proposed some benchmarks for measuring the quality of an online profile.

William Arruda over at MarketingProfs recently wrote an article titled, Have You Been Digitally Dissed? In it he covers the now all too common tale of a marketing executive not being able to get a job interview because a search for her name on Google returned, in the top spot, a description of her termination from a company board. That's nothing new, but still makes for a good story, wouldn't you say? To further back up the story, Arruda offers these two statistics:

  1. Poll results from Harris Interactive showed that 23% of people search the names of business associates or colleagues on the web before meeting them. I do this a lot myself. Especially when I'm handed a resume. I can honestly saw that someone's web presence tipped the scales out of their favor not too long ago.
  2. According to a survey by Execunet, 75% of recruiters Google candidates. No surprise here. What self-respecting recruiter wouldn't want to cover all the bases before pitching a candidate?

But the really interesting part of the article was Arruda's attempt to quantify the number of Google results that a person should have based on their job level in the industry. He suggests that professionals with 5-10 years of experience should have 50-500 entries. I, of course, had to see if I did indeed have this many. As it turns out, I do. 1,260 results at the time I checked. Not all are relevant as there is apparently another Marios Alexandrou out there. Fortunately, he is a computer science undergrad prize winner so any issues related to mistaken identity will still work in my favor. More importantly, the first 10 results and most of the first 20 results are about me and point to my involvement on the web.

Next up. Checking out my peers and superiors. The numbers are all over the place. Some fall in line with the benchmarks that Arruda has come up with while others don't. Most notably, the higher up the corporate food chain I go, the fewer results there are in Google. And what results do come back are largely unrelated to the web industry. What does this mean? Not much. While it would be great for these people if they had a stronger online presence, I think the only real conclusion is that those that are in the trenches also happen to be engaged in web-related activities beyond their day-to-day work, while those higher up aren't. And, the one upside of having no presence in search results is that there's also nothing negative to defend.

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