Your Online Identity Matters

Today, more than ever, people turn to the web to find information about others. It's quite likely that someone you know has Googled you. Do you know what they found? And, does it matter?

It matters.

If you're looking for a job, your recruiter has probably seen at least one of your social profiles. According to Jobvite, 86 percent of recruiters check candidates' social media profiles. An additional 77 percent scanned search engines in 2006, according to ExecuNet. And, if they didn't like what they saw, you missed out. A Reppler study showed that 69 percent have rejected applications based on what they found online.

Your personal life can be affected too. According to an eHarmony study, nearly half of men and women have looked up their dates online before going out with them. The same site reports that online dating has become the third most popular way for newlyweds to meet in the last five years.

And it impacts college and university acceptance as well.

According to a 2011 Kaplan Test Prep study, 41 percent of law school admissions officers said they have Googled an applicant to learn more about them, while 37 percent have checked out an applicant on Facebook or other social networking site. Thirty-five percent discovered something that negatively impacted an applicant's chances of getting into the school.

You don't have to be on the defensive. By taking control of your information, which is already available online, you can benefit.

That's why I formed Qnary, an online identity management platform and managed services company that provides individuals with a deep view of all of the digital information that is publicly available about them online. Unlike some companies that focus on crisis management, Qnary makes good people look great.

It provides tips and tools to help the individual shape social network profiles and improve search results. Some content sharing tips are embedded as well, allowing Qnary users to create an online presence that truly sings.

If you're a businessperson or professional, you probably meet with other professionals regularly.

If you're like me, you look them up on LinkedIn to try to find common ground before you start your meeting. I check to see whether the person I'm meeting with has a common interest I can tap into or knows some of the same people.

If I don't have time to see who they are ahead of time, I Google them later to see whether they're credible. If I discover that we have a mutual connection, I might ask that person for a recommendation before working with someone I don't already know.

It's important that you make sure those who search for you online in similar situations see the best, most accurate, version of you they can.