So, you’ve tried Googling yourself and found nothing. Your name is far too common, but you’re also not very active online. Well, you’re still not entirely safe. A mistaken identity on Google could still affect your chances of getting that job. You know that the information is not about you, but a potential employer or recruiter will not know that. In fact, many recruiters reject applicants before confirming that the bad stuff they’ve found is actually about the candidate. This is not fair, but there are some things that you can do to change these circumstances.
1. Google yourself
You’ve probably already done this, but do it again; this time, pay attention to what is said about these other people, and what they’re posting online.
2. Examine the results
Look through the results and find content that a potential employer or recruiter would regard negatively. Start by going through the first three pages of the search results, and keep an eye out for instances of people posting nasty comments, posing in inappropriate photos, and/or mentions of them being arrested.
3. Find a clean version of your name
Do you have a middle name, but don’t include it in on your resume and online profiles? Well, now may be a good time to start doing so. Google this version of your name, and check the results to see if there is any bad stuff surrounding this name.
4. Get your name out there
The best solution is to create content that reflects who you are, and is true to the brand that you want to present to others. Get a LinkedIn profile, start a blog, and build your presence on Twitter. This pushes your name up in search results, and minimises the chances of bad stuff showing up.
There may be nothing about you online, but this isn’t always a good thing. Someone else with your name may be causing trouble online, and this can reflect negatively on you. Employers won’t know that the bad stuff isn’t about you, and will draw conclusions. So, start building your personal brand, and don’t limit your opportunities. Put your best foot forward.