To Be Findable, You Must Want to Be Found

When looking for a job, the first step in being found is actually wanting to be found.

That sounds simple enough, but too many job seekers have anxiety about what a prospective employer might find when Googling their names, even when they have nothing to hide.

Many well-intentioned (and misguided) individuals try to instill in us a fear that social media is a window where people on the other side are voyeurs. That advice seems to fit with warnings we’ve received since childhood about “stranger danger.”

Consequently, too many job seekers overreact when trying to protect their privacy. Somehow they have been programmed to think that having their personal information “out there on the Internet” is bad. That mindset does not work in today’s competitive job market.

Even if you are inherently shy and guard your privacy, you must recognize that being too secretive will work against your best interests. Being too cautious and private only erodes your efforts to brand yourself and to find your ideal job.

The best job seekers want to be found. They want to be discovered. Therefore, they deliberately leave “bread crumbs” along the pathway that will lead a prospective employer to find them. They create a presence on numerous online platforms, knowing that each platform gives a different perspective of their multifaceted brands.

In a job search, transparency should be your mantra. You cannot simultaneously hide your brand and look for a job. You want to be seen. You want to be findable. You actually want people—even strangers—to Google your name.


These ideas on personal branding were originally presented during two workshops I conducted for the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. The sessions were attended by current and aspiring nonprofit leaders who came from across the nation for the annual Alliance Management/Leadership Institute, the nation’s largest leadership development and networking symposium for students, faculty and nonprofit professionals. —DH

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