When applying for a job, you’re really giving a relative stranger permission to stalk you online.
In fact, 66% of hiring managers use search engines like Google to research job applicants, according to a 2018 survey by CareerBuilder.
With that in mind, you’ll want to clean up Google search results.
Maybe you’re unhappy with your current search results. Perhaps you have a common name and can’t distinguish yourself — or worse, share a name with a shady character who’s in the news more often than you are. Here are three topics to explore as you get your online reputation in shape:
- How to clean up Google search results when applying for a job
- Cleaning up Google search results by checking these 4 social media sites
- 4 tips to clean up Google search results — and boost them
You might feel bashful about searching your own name on Google. But consider this: That CareerBuilder survey also reported that 57% of employers have decided against hiring an applicant, at least in part, because of unflattering content found online.
When searching your name, sign out of your Google account or use a private-browsing window that hides your location. You’ll want to see what strangers see.
Beyond confirming your credentials, human resources managers are likely to search for you online to make sure no red flags exist. A silly tweet or out-of-context college Facebook picture, for example, could cost you an interview or job offer.
What Google will and won’t remove from search results
Thankfully, Google — and other popular websites populating your content in its search results — allow you to limit what you share on the web.
Be careful about sharing your date of birth, telephone number and address — all of which Google typically won’t remove from search results. Sharing your age, for example, might affect how a potential employer perceives your experience level.
Fortunately, Google will remove the following from search results — some of which may not affect your job application, but could affect your vulnerability to fraud:
- Social Security number
- Bank account number
- Credit card number
- Images of signature
- Medical records
- Nude or sexually explicit images
Any time you submit this kind of information to an unsecured website, it could end up online for all to see.
The first step toward removing sensitive information or unflattering images that have been shared without your consent is to contact the webmaster of the website sharing it.
Google can only stop this content from showing up in search results; it can’t simply remove it from the internet.
If a website has deleted the content in question but it’s still showing up in Google search results, you can use the search engine’s tool to make a formal removal request.
If on the other hand, the webmaster isn’t responsive or won’t grant your request, you’ll need to provide the following to Google:
- Website URL
- Google search URL
- Screenshots of the material
Google’s troubleshooter can guide you through these steps.
Off-putting search results can also come straight from places where you’re the webmaster: Social media.
Depending on where you’re applying for a job, you might or might not want to be found via your status updates and blog posts. A would-be engineer, for example, might prefer to promote their carefully curated LinkedIn page, but keep their politically-charged Twitter account in the background.
Thankfully, the following platforms (and others like them) make it simple to clean up Google search results for your name:
Under the “Manage” and “Settings” on your dashboard, you can choose whether you want your blog or website included in search engine results.
In privacy settings, you can select whether you want your profile page included in search results.
Even if you hide your profile from the web, you might still want to restrict access to fellow Facebook users. A hiring manager with their own account could find you using the search bar, skipping Google altogether.
Differentiating your Twitter name and username from your professional name will eventually remove the account from Google search results, according to Twitter.
Locking access to your tweets with a password will also stop search engines like Google from cataloging them. If your newly-protected tweets still show up in search, there’s recourse. Paste a link to the questionable tweet in Google’s quick removal tool (above). (If you’re not sure whether you have potentially damaging tweets, you can have Twitter send you a link to download your archive for inspection.)
That’s how to share or hide your networking profiles in search results. How you improve them is mostly about common sense. You’ll likely find, for example, that your headshot on any one of these platforms will come up as a top Google Images result, so pick a professional one.
If you’re fresh out of college, you might even want to consider creating separate accounts on these platforms that can be used when applying for a job — that’s just one of things that recent grads can do to score a first gig.
|● Social media can help you repay student debt
● How to stop social media from wrecking your budget
● Accounts to follow for financial advice
Erasing negative search results is one thing. Creating a positive set of results is another exercise to make yourself marketable, and it might require more effort.
Here are four quick tips to not only clean up Google search results, but also boost them with the content you want to highlight:
Even if you don’t have a professional purpose (or a personal desire) for a self-titled website, reserve your domain name to keep someone else from abusing it. That’s especially true if you have an uncommon first and last name.
If your name is shared by many other professionals around the globe, consider distinguishing yourself. James Smith, for example, could have an easier time showing up as James O. Smith. If you switch monikers, make sure to be consistent with it on all your job application materials.
When creating a website or blog, implement basic search engine optimization practices. Include the keywords you’d like to rank for — “Student Loan Hero,” for example.
Linking your website to your social media accounts will also help Google connect the dots of who you are and how you want to be presented to the online searching public.
If you’re like most people and skip past websites’ updated terms and conditions and privacy policies, follow a safe rule of thumb: Only post content to websites that allow you to set your privacy preferences.
Otherwise, what you share with your friends could be shared more widely than you think and could cause a job application rejection.
A lot of your online cleanse can be done at home with a bunch of clicking around. If you’d prefer professional help, however, that option exists. Scroll through website services like BrandYourself and Reputation X to see what they can do for you.
Make sure to review their free resources before agreeing to pay for something you could do yourself.
You don’t need to feel silly about searching for yourself online — it’s the only way to discover results you might not want to share with your next employer.
To be even more proactive about your digital footprint, set up a Google alert with your name. This way, you’ll be notified via email when your first and last name hit the web.
Anything you say or do could be used against you in a limitless, 24-hour-a-day digital space that isn’t known for its forgetfulness. Keep this in mind when marketing yourself and applying for a job.
Once you’ve learned how to clean up Google search results, consider:
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 9 lenders of 2022!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|2.49% – 11.72%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.30%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|4.13% – 7.39%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.99%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.99%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.24% – 8.24%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.48% – 7.98%||Undergrad |
|1.74% – 7.99%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.69% – 9.92%8||Undergrad & Graduate|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of September 6, 2022.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $9 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of April 29, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
3 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of 5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.
As of 09/09/2022 student loan refinancing rates range from 4.13% APR – 7.39% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.99% APR – 9.93% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
4 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.
You can choose between fixed and variable rates. Fixed interest rates are 3.99% – 8.74% APR (3.74% – 8.49% APR with Auto Pay discount). Starting variable interest rates are 2.74% APR to 8.24% APR (2.49% – 7.99% APR with Auto Pay discount). Variable rates are based on an index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) plus a margin. Variable rates are reset monthly based on the fluctuation of the index. We do not currently offer variable rate loans in AK, CO, CT, HI, IL, KY, MA, MN, MS, NH, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, and VA.
5 Important Disclosures for Navient.
6 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
Fixed rates range from 3.99% APR to 8.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates from 3.24% APR to 8.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 8.95% APR; 15- and 20-year terms are capped at 9.95% APR. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.
7 Important Disclosures for Purefy.
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing Rate and Terms Disclosure: Annual Percentage Rates (APR) ranges and examples are based on information provided to Purefy by lenders participating in Purefy’s rate comparison platform. For student loan refinancing, the participating lenders offer fixed rates ranging from 2.73% – 7.99% APR, and variable rates ranging from 1.74% – 7.99% APR. The maximum variable rate is 25.00%. Your interest rate will be based on the lender’s requirements. In most cases, lenders determine the interest rates based on your credit score, degree type and other credit and financial criteria. Only borrowers with excellent credit and meeting other lender criteria will qualify for the lowest rate available. Rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice. Terms and conditions apply.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens.
Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69%-9.92% (3.69%-9.92% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49%-10.11% (4.49%-10.11% APR).
Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 6.39%- 9.60% (6.39% – 9.60% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 6.58% – 9.79% (6.58% – 9.79% APR).
Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69% – 9.16% (3.69% – 9.16% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.35% (4.49% – 9.35% APR).
Education Refinance Loan for Parents Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69%- 9.09% (3.69%- 9.09% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.28% (4.49% – 9.28% APR).
Medical Residency Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69% – 9.16% (3.69% – 9.16% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.35% (4.49% – 9.35% APR).