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Colleges help students develop a squeaky clean online image

Posting in Technology


Job seekers have a lot to be conscious of during the hunt for employment these days. Employers aren’t simply judging their resumes and cover letters, they’re also taking a peek at their Google results and Facebook posts. Share a name with a convicted felon or even a hard-partying college student and your job prospects might suffer as a result.

To ensure that recent graduates are presenting their best online selves, a number of universities have begun providing services that help clean up an individual’s Google results, making sure the most favorable search results possible appear upon Googling.

Syracuse, Rochester and Johns Hopkins are just a few of the universities that have started actively helping students clean up their online presence.

According to CBS News, the growing trend among schools is based on recent studies that show that as many as 77 percent of employers Google prospective hires and nearly all of them don’t bother to click past the first page of results.

“It’s becoming more and more important for students to be aware of and able to manage their online presence, to be able to have strong, positive things come up on the Internet when someone seeks them out,” Mike Cahill, Syracuse’s career services director, told the site.

To help students out, the university now offers all of its undergrads, graduate students and alumni free access to BrandYourself. Started by a Syracuse alum who became frustrated about his lack of job prospects after repeatedly getting mistaken for a drug dealer with the same moniker, the site ensures that an individual’s Google results will be the most accurate and positive ones possible.

BrandYourself works by analyzing key words in a user’s various online profiles and suggests ways to pull relevant links up a few rankings on Google’s search results. The service also alerts users as to when an unidentified result appears on the first page or if any links drop significantly in rank.

The software doesn’t guarantee users a job at the end of the road, but it does promise to clear up some of the online confusion.

Image: Johan Larsson/Flickr

[via CBS News]

— By on December 27, 2012, 8:14 PM PST

Sarah Korones

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sarah Korones is a freelance writer based in New York. She has written for Psychology Today and Boston's Weekly Dig. She holds a degree from Tufts University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure