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Why You Should Create a Google Profile. Now.

A Google profile is exactly what it sounds like: A personal profile that appears when someone does a Google search of your name. My advice: Create one now to make sure you're properly represented on the Web.

What does that mean? Suppose a prospective (or current) employer decides to play Sherlock Holmes and types your name into Google. Who knows what the results might be? If you have a commoner's -- er, common -- name like "Dave Johnson," they could be downright disastrous.

For example, the links could lead to an unflattering news story, a politically incorrect blog post, a site about growing marijuana, or the like -- any or all of which could cost you a job. Doesn't matter if the search results pertain to a different person with the same name -- the negative associations might already be made.

A Google profile won't necessarily rescue you from these associations, but they may help you "guide the message," so to speak. Google now lists name-search results in a Profile section at the bottom of the query page. By creating a profile, you can stake a claim to that section and, hopefully, steer searchers to the real you.

For starters, you can upload a photo of yourself so people who've met you will know they've found the right person. A profile also lets visitors send you messages (but doesn't give them your e-mail address -- nice bit of privacy protection there), read your bio, get contact information (whatever you care to provide), and see any links you care to share.

Speaking of which, a profile provides an easy opportunity for you to promote your business. Ultimately, you've got nothing to lose by creating one, and plenty to gain.

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the TalkBack. [via The Official Gmail Blog]

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