Establishing your professional identity involves more than joining networking groups to meet people, creating a Twitter account for professional conversation, and building an amazing resume to impress employers. Your overall online presence can make or break your opportunities.

Chances are, when a potential employer sees your resume on his or her desk, the next thing they will do is Google you. If your online identity is disjointed, employers won’t know what to make of you. They will see your resume as only a fraction of who you are, rather than as a summary of your best characteristics.

For job seekers like you, your biggest challenge could be making sure that when someone looks you up in a search engine, the best information about you floods the first page of search results. It shouldn’t get buried under irrelevant information, or worse—damaging information.

If you have a common or famous name, this might be a bigger problem. Other people with an identical name could edge you out on the first search results page. They could also flood that page with misleading information that isn’t about you at all.

Luckily, with a little bit of elbow grease and Internet know-how, you can significantly improve your online presence. You might even be able to push back some of those unwanted pages, photos, or postings, so employers will never even see them.

To start improving your online persona, you’ll have to ensure that employers can find consistent, reliable, factual information about your professional history. Start by double-checking your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other online accounts. They should all reflect the same basic bio information about your career. If you have a website, check to see if your online resume is consistent with your LinkedIn. All pieces should fit together and play nicely.

Once you have done that, you can further sharpen your image and enhance your online identity.

Google Yourself

Have you ever Googled your own name? It’s highly probable that hiring employers are looking you up, and you need to know what they are learning about you. Searching your name gives you an idea of where to start honing your persona and how much work needs to be done.

Even if you have always posted clean-cut photos, kid-friendly tweets, or innocent blog entries, there might be someone out there with your same name who is tarnishing your image. There could also be irrelevant clutter that is covering up the important career-focused posts and pages you’ll want employers to notice.

Pick a Strategic Name

We don’t recommend making up a new name entirely. But if you have a common name, like John Smith, chances are you won’t be the only one on the first page of search engine results. If you have the same name as a celebrity, the same should apply. Consider variations on your own name and type them into a search engine. Find out which version offers the most opportunity for you to take over the first page of Google results.

For example, John Smith might start going by Jonathan (if that really is his name), or Jonathan James Smith (if James is his middle name). If that doesn’t work, consider hyphenating first and middle names (e.g., Johnathan-James Smith). By playing with your name and developing a persona, entirely unique to you, you will be better able to manage your online identity.

Show Off Your Credentials

If you have earned a title, flaunt it. We don’t recommend flaunting it for your ego’s sake. Rather, a potential employer might want to specifically look up your professional history. If you are an attorney, consistently attach “Esq.” to your name online. That way, when a potential employer searches for “Jonathan-James Smith, Esq.,” chances are, they will find you—and only you—more consistently and frequently.

Let Chic Resumes by Grammar Chic help you strengthen your professional presence. From developing a powerful resume to helping you upload it to LinkedIn, we’re here to help. Contact us today at 803-831-7444 or by visiting to find out how we can help.