Google Profiles: 10 Steps to a Personal Branding Gem

by Meg Guiseppi on March 4, 2010


Want a nearly foolproof page one Google search result for “your name” that you can create quickly for FREE?

Then a Google Profile is for you. Actually, I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from having one, especially if you’re in executive job search. A fully fleshed out, branded Google Profile is just the kind of compelling web page you need to attract recruiters and hiring decision makers when they’re searching for and assessing candidates.

With the introduction of Google Buzz, a social network set on competing with Twitter and Facebook as an easy way to share content online, a Google Profile becomes even more powerful. According to MG Siegler’s TechCrunch post, If Google Wave Is The Future, Google Buzz Is The Present:

“A problem Google has had when it comes to social elements is that they’ve never really had one place to let users share all their social data. Now they have that with Google profiles, which apparently, Google Buzz will be built into.”

Dan Schawbel summed up the three main benefits of having a Google Profile:

1. When someone googles your name, your profile shows up at the bottom with your picture. If you don’t create and complete your profile, then someone who shares your name can own that spot. Search results display three profiles per searched name.

2. It has “Google juice,” which means that the websites you link to from your profile will have a boost in the search engine. It will eventually mean that your buzz’s, through your profile, will also rank high for certain keywords.

3. It acts as a central hub for all the information you share, your professional and personal information and contact information. In this way, it allows you to manage your digital identity, as well as others.

Here’s what the Google search result looks like for my profile:

google search result

Once you set up a Google account, it’s easy to work up your Google profile. Walking through each step, here’s how you do it:

1. Personal information and privacy settings

Along with your name, Google allows “Other names”, which can be maiden name or alternate spelling. If your name is often misspelled you may want to add that here. People who search your misspelled name will still find you.

To the right, you’re prompted to:

  • Display my full name so I can be found in search
  • Allow people to contact me (without showing my email address)
  • Display the list of people I’m following and people following me

Because the sole purpose of a Google Profile is to provide information about you online for people searching your name, make it easy for them. Definitely check the first box, to display your full name. You decide whether to check the other two privacy settings.

2. Your photo

Critical! Upload your professional headshot – the same avatar/photo you use elsewhere online. If you don’t add your photo, it won’t show up in the Google search result for your profile.

3. Geography

You’ll find fields to add the following:

  • Where you grew up
  • Where you live now
  • Places you’ve lived

Filling in these fields generates an eye-catching map that pinpoints the cities you’ve mentioned.

4. The “What I Do” section

This is where your keyword-rich executive brand positioning statement goes, led by your professional title. Realize that your Google Profile search result will include the first few words of this section, so choose your lead-in carefully.

Here’s how I handled “What I Do”:

google profile meg guiseppi

You’re also asked for:

  • Current company – note that if you fill this in, the company name will show up as the lead-in to your “What I Do” statement in your search result listing.
  • Companies you’ve worked for
  • Current school
  • Schools you’ve attended

Although your answers may make you easier to find, for security reasons you may not want to add all of this identifying information.

5. Verified domains

Check which domains you’d like to appear on your profile, helping visitors know that this is really your profile.

6. “A little personality” – your career biography

Paste in your career brand biography or a combination of your bio and resume. Don’t have a branded bio? See my post at Brand-Yourself, How to Create a Great Executive Brand Biography. You can (and should) add lots of links in this section to other information about you.

Some say it’s best to keep your bio very brief (1-2 paragraphs) relying instead on all the links included in your profile to lead people elsewhere for your whole brand picture. My feeling is that, unless enough space isn’t afforded, I almost always opt for a longer version. It’s best to use the same full bio (or combination of bio and resume) here that you use elsewhere online.

7. Other queries Google prompts you for:

  • Something I can’t find using Google
  • My superpower
  • Interests

I strongly recommend filling in the “Interests” field. This is a great opportunity to generate chemistry by including passions and activities of yours that may be shared by or spark interest in those reading your profile. You can have some fun with the other two fields too, if you like.

8. Links section

Take full advantage by adding links to any relevant online activities and content about “brand you” (blog, website, VisualCV, LinkedIn profile, Twitter and other social networking profiles, etc.). Prioritize your links by which ones best represent you. The more links you have, the better you’ll look, but don’t include links to social networks if you’re not active there.

google profile links

9. Profile URL

Another prime personal branding opportunity for name recognition. Don’t leave the default. Claim your name on Google, just as you use it elsewhere online. If your name is taken, try whatever variation you used for your LinkedIn profile URL.

10. Additional information

You can also add photos using Picasa Web Albums or another photo service for a nifty visual effect.

Bottom Line:

Think what an impact your branded Google Profile will have in your job search. Recruiters and hiring decision makers looking for candidates like you will immediately zoom in on your Google profile search result, because of your photo, and want to click through.

Make it easy for the very people you want to impress to land on the right information about you.

Related posts:

10 Steps to an Authentic, Magnetic Personal Brand

10 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand Online Without a Blog

Online Executive Personal Branding: Are You Digitally Distinct?

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