WRITTEN BY: MELISSA KLEIN
Don’t let younger, immature you stand in the way of older, career-oriented you.
Okay, okay, I know you have heard your parents tell you this for years when it comes to social media. You are putting a lot of personal information out into the vast World Wide Web and you can never take it back once you’ve posted it. And of course, you should be careful with your social media accounts and what you post. But googling yourself reveals much more than your social media accounts. Other people, organizations, and businesses may post information about you as well. I can guarantee you that possible employers WILL google you, and you want to be prepared for that.
Important note: the main reason that you google yourself and go through this process is because you are able to control what is out there for people to see. Like any good teacher would tell you: know your audience. There is a time and place for everything, so start off on the right foot with a future employer and present yourself as a professional. Once a prospective employer sees a picture of you double fisting with your face painted, they won’t be able to get that picture out of their head. Seriously, I’ve seen this happen. Don’t be that person.
We will go through the 3 steps of googling yourself to make this embarrassing blast from the past a little easier for you.
Step One – Start Your Search:
First things first, go to Google (or your search engine of choice). You are going to do a lot of searches, I mean a lot. The trick here is to use keywords along with your name: hometown, high school, college, and any cities that you have lived in. From there, get more detail-oriented: search your addresses and your phone numbers. Remember to look at more than just webpages that pop up. Check images and videos as well. Finally, search each of your social media usernames and make sure your privacy settings are as solid as you assume they are.
Step Two – See What You Find:
Do you like what you’ve found? Who was that picture or post meant for? Your freshman roommate? Your boss? Really think about this step. You need to decide what kind of picture this paints about you and if you are happy with it.
I google myself probably once a year, just to make sure that things are looking good and I usually like what I find! When I google my hometown, my picture comes up with the Chamber of Commerce. When I google my college, a website for my club sports team and a picture of a research presentation come up. The funny thing about this? I didn’t post any of those things. The organizations I worked with posted them.
Step Three – Fix It:
After thinking really hard about what you want up there and what you don’t, make it happen. For things that you have posted, you can go through and update your privacy settings and delete postings. Even though you’ll do this, older images and posts you try to delete may still show up on searches until the search engine updates their indexes (so your parents were right). But, it will eventually go away. If you’d like it to not show up in the search engine sooner, you can put in a request with them directly. If someone else posted the information, you can either ask the organization to take it down or contact the domain holder directly.
With these three steps in mind, you are one step closer to creating the presentation you want for your professional and personal goals!