How often do you Google yourself?

These days, it's not enough to have a great resume and cover letter. Employers also want to investigate your online personal brand before offering you the job. However, our recent survey found that not all professionals take this fact into account when they search for work — and it could be costing them job opportunities.

We asked 1,965 career-driven professionals, ranging from entry-level to more than 20 years of experience, how often they searched for their own name online to uncover their "ego-surfing" frequency.

Our nationwide survey revealed that more than 80 percent of professionals, including Millennials, are potentially sabotaging their job search by neglecting their online brands. When asked, "How often do you Google your name?," our survey found that more than 50 percent have never Googled their name before and an additional 33 percent only monitor their online personal brand one to three times a year.

If you’re not managing and optimizing your online personal brand, you could unknowingly hurt your chances of landing your dream job. Today, Google your name, as it appears on your resume, to see what employers will find when they search for you.

If you’re not managing your online brand, you could hurt your chances of landing your dream job.

Once you’ve taken a look at the results, ask yourself the following questions:

Which of my social media profiles are part of my “professional brand?”

Make a list of every social media profile you’ve ever created and then decide which ones you’d like to associate with your professional brand. In other words, identify which of your profiles you want employers to find when they Google you. For these sites, check to make sure they’re telling a consistent story about your work history and education. If you’re actively searching for a job, consider uploading a copy of your resume to the account, if given the option.

If there are other accounts you’d like to keep for personal use, a smart step in your personal branding strategy is to increase the security settings so that only your close friends and family can find and access them.

Am I consistently representing my name online and on paper?

It doesn’t matter whether you prefer to use Lawrence or Larry or if you like to include your middle initial as part of your professional brand. However you decide to represent your name on your resume, make sure your professional social media profiles follow suit.

Also, consider changing the name on your personal accounts to a nickname or your first and middle name so employers won’t connect them with your professional brand when they Google you.

Free Download: TopResume Personal Branding Checklist

Did I forget to add any noteworthy information to my professional online profiles?

Most recruiters say that a positive online presence can influence a hiring decision. Some great job tips include boosting your social media profiles by adding examples of written or design work (if applicable) and sharing details about your volunteer activities and relevant professional association memberships. Post news about current events that are relevant to your field to demonstrate that you’re keeping a pulse on your industry. And last but not least, continue growing your network of contacts. Employers are on the lookout for candidates who have mutual connections with current employees and other people that they trust.

Are my personal social media accounts tarnishing my online brand?

According to a study by Jobvite, 55 percent of recruiters have reconsidered a candidate based on their social profile, with 61 percent of those reconsiderations being negative.

Optimize your personal branding strategy by removing vulgar or inappropriate comments or status updates you’ve posted about your boss, colleagues, or those with whom you interviewed. Nobody wants to hire someone who’s bashing others all the time. Also, avoid dropping f-bombs and other four-letter words on your professional accounts. 61 percent of employers reacted negatively to job seekers who used profanity in their social media posts.

Will recruiters find anything else online that I need to be prepared to handle?

If you unearth some negative results when your Google yourself, try to contact the website and see if you can get the mention of your name taken down. You can also attempt to push these less than flattering mentions further down the page of results by creating new content in the form of a blog or personal website, a member profile for your professional association’s directory, or an additional professionally-branded account such with sites like About.Me or Google Plus.

If you aren’t able to remove or downplay the damaging results, be prepared to talk about the situation, in case a recruiter brings it up during an interview.

Google yourself on a monthly basis to actively monitor and manage your online presence. In addition, set up a Google News Alert for your name to help keep an eye on your professional brand.

Click on the following link to download TopResume's free personal branding checklist.

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