How (and why) Job Seekers Should Protect Their Online Reputation

I read a lot, perhaps more than I should sometimes, but I do. I was reading a very interesting article on ReadWriteWeb the other day called “Google CEO Suggests You Change Your Name to Escape His Permanent Record.” Here are a few highlights from that article:

  • “(Google CEO says) …every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends’ social media sites.”
  • “(Google CEO says) …I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.”
  • “Perhaps parents should start giving their children short-term names then, which they’ll be less attached to. Save your favorite name for adulthood, kids, because you’ll need to change it. Google says so.”

Okay, when I read the article and especially those snippets, I thought the obvious correlation – The Incredible Hulk.

Just in case my assertion is not so obvious to you, allow me to delve a bit further. Let’s say that I work for a big corporation that deals in nuclear energy as an alternative to oil. (Hey, going green is all the rage these days, right?) I think back to my college days and I remember one of my classmates being a whiz in alternative energy, especially Gamma rays. So I do a quick search on his name – “David Bruce Banner” and what do I see?

Hmm.. I come across data that looks like it could be my old pal David, but I also get a lot of references about an urban myth called – The Hulk.” Hm… maybe I should do an image search?

Wow! I see more and more evidence that Bruce David Banner and this Hulk creature are one in the same. Hmm… Maybe I shouldn’t be thinking of hiring this guy after all? He was cool and all in college, but now he seems to have an anger issue. Nah… I will pass.

So, imagine that you are David Banner trying to get a job. With all the info online about what happens whenever somebody gets on your nerves, chances are your job search will be much longer than it needs to be.

If I were David Banner and I really needed a job (moreso for a new wardrobe than anything else), what could I do to get my data out of Google?

OPTION A: I could walk up to Google and ask them to remove all of my information from their database that ties me to my Hulk personna. Should they refuse, I could say,”Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like it if I were angry.”

OPTION B: If Google were to say that they did not beleive in censorship, do your worse. I would change into a red Hulk and shout thngs like “Crush Puny Humans for not removing my data!” but only say it in Chinese. Odds are, I would make some headway, but in all likelihood only a compromise of some sort would be had.

OPTION C: I could go through the paces of what I find prescribed online. For example, How to Ungoogle YourselfUn-Google Yourself or Video – How to remove your information from Google.

OPTION D: Do what superheroes have been doing since superheroes were invented, establish a secret identity. When you post your resume online, use your real name. However, if you decide to dance drunk with a lampshade on your head (it happens) puh-leeze use a code name. What?! You don’t think that people still dance drunk with lampshades on their head? Check out the video below, non-believer.

Oh yeah, if you were a Recruiter, wouldn’t these guys be on the top of your list? But I digress…

Use your “codename” for your Facebook profile but not on your Linkedin profile. Your codename should be well-known by pals and party-goers, but not too prospective employees. Get it? Here are a few codenames to consider (just in case you are having writer’s block).

  • Keyzer Soze
  • Samurai Mugen
  • La Femme Nikita
  • Moneypenny
  • Bart

Why did I suggest those? They are vague enough to the general public so as to seem unique, but popular enough online so that if a Recruiter did discover your codename, they would have to sift through tons of irrelevant data and (most likely) give up on trying to unlock your secret life as a lampshade dancer. Make sense?

Of all the options presented, I would go with option C and remove anything damaging (as much as I could), then going forward I would tell all of my pals to connect to my new Facebook page (under my new alias) so I can talk freely.

So, who would win in a fight between Google and The Incredible Hulk (or rather, Google vs David Banner)? It all depends on how well David Banner covered his tracks. (Smile)

– Jim Stroud

P.S. Get extra cool points if you can figure out my “codename” and what I do in my secret life. (wink-wink)

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