Digital Dirt

April 23, 2009 a great new tool to expand you professional digital footprint

I just came across a great resource for expanding your active, and positive, digital footprint for the purposes of job hunting.

The website,, provides a network for you to really bring your experience and expertise to life.  Yes, it is another site to maintain, but it does serve an important role among your existing social networks and professional sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Friendfeed, Twitter, etc.

resumeI found VisualCV through a webinar.  Save an hour of your life and just read the details below.  The presenter, Karen Masullo, noted that the key to Web 2.0 and job hunting is transparency in the tools you use, and the information you communicate with those tools.  “You are brand you” is what she says (cute right?) so it is important to be aware of the way you are representing yourself online.

I have outlined similar steps before, but these are much clearer and more action oriented:

1) Search yourself (on Google, Yahoo, and so on).  Find out what Dirt is out there on you.  Is it positive or negative?  It is too personal, or not personal enough?  Also make sure to search nicknames, alternate spellings of your name, your email address, and even you social security number (I added that last tip).

2) Create new valuable content to push down the bad search results (if they exist).  She says you need a sound “organic search strategy [SEO].”  Duh.  Easier said than done.  I think she means this: where ever you are creating an active footprint online, you need to use terms that relate your area of expertise so you get credit for them in organic search.  Linking those closely to your name should do the trick (I think so anyway).

3) Market yourself:

  • Have a 90-second “elevator speech” prepared [in writing] and make sure you are communicating what makes YOU special
  • Have a VisualVC (I think she threw that in there because, well, it was a webinar)
  • Have a LinkedIn profile
  • Keep a blog (um, check)
  • Use Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook, etc, etc, etc.  I think she means to say here: “have a freakin’ presece online.”

So what is a VisualCV?  It’s a neat little way to keep your professional experience up to speed for everyone to see.  She calls it a “perminate professional archive of your work history.”  Check mine out here!  You should update it often, even every few days.  You might be thinking, “isn’t that what LinkedIn is for?”  That’s what I thought too.  But she delineates between the two: LinkedIn is for networking and highlighting your overall experience, education, and so on.  A VisualCV is for keeping a running tab on your work.  AND it is more visual, as the name suggests.  You have the opportunity on to add video of your work, PDFs, letters of recommendation, association and corporate logos, etc.

The important thing to note is that you need to tie all the pieces of your professional digital footprint together.  Links to and from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and you VisualCV are important because each should serve a different and specific purpose.

Blatantly obvious tip that you should have learned in high school (unless the internet didn’t exist then) is to have an email address that resembles  Not


February 18, 2009

Digging Yourself Out of the Ditch


So you’re trying to find a job (good luck) and you want to make sure that potential employers and recruiters don’t find anything too risqué about you?  A few tips to hide, but not necessarily delete, your Digital Dirt.

Below is some info I found on  There really aren’t too many resources out there to help cleanup or delete your digital footprint.  I will keep searching and add more tips as I find them or think of them.

Google yourself:  See what’s out there and what rises to the top of the search.

If you find something you’d rather the world didn’t see, contact the site’s owner and ask that it be removed. If you get a “no,” contacting search engines isn’t likely to help. To date, I haven’t looked into getting my mentions removed.

Clean up your social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. Chris Hughes, a spokesman for Facebook, says he’s heard that recruiters with alumni email addresses log in to look up job candidates who attended the same school (according to  Remember to tighten up your privacy settings.  Plus, in you future social networking adventures, if you think it might cause trouble down the road don’t post it!

Bury your dirt. Also suggested by contributor, Jared Flesher: “The best way to make something [bad] go away is to have a lot of ‘online presence’ of your own,” says Luis Villa, senior technology analyst at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. He suggests starting a Web page or a blog.”

Tune in to your blog buzz. You can monitor your Dirt presence through sites like or Google Alerts, which will alert you by email when your name is mentioned in internet newsgroups, blogs, etc.

Create a free website or blog at