Have you Googled yourself?
When you talk with a recruiter, hiring manager, or anyone these days, you should assume that they're looking you up online. What will they learn about you? Have you looked yourself up to see what information is available?
Jim Durbin wrote up a nice summary of how to get started checking up on yourself in Self-Googling:
- Start with your name in quotes: "Jim Durbin" James Durbin" James M Durbin"
- Take the quotes out and repeat. James Durbin, Jim Durbin, James M Durbin jdurbin
- Search all of your e-mail addresses and phone numbers.
- Search you name and company names. (past and present) use slang and jargon. (Anheuser-Busch becomes both AB and MSG)
- Type your name and your zip code. Your name and your home phone. Your name and your city (both St. Louis and your actual town)
Your goal is to find out in advance what someone else might find, in case there's anything out there you need to address. Here are some possible results from the search:
- Nothing. You have managed to stay off the radar. At least there's no adverse information for you to deal with, but there's nothing to advance your cause, either.
- Noise. You're lost in a sea of people with the same name. Almost the same as being off the radar entirely, except for the possibility of confusion with someone else.
- Unfavorable information turns up. Possibly something you did (or wrote) years ago. Be prepared to discuss it—just in case. You might consider a personal web site or blog to position more positive information in the search results. If the information is inaccurate, you may be able to get it removed by the web site, but that can be very difficult.
- Favorable information turns up. Your name appears in press releases, articles, conference panels, race results—oh, and your web site or blog—all of which reinforce your image as a great candidate for the position. The results are so good that you want to remind people to look you up.
Any doubt which outcome I prefer?
While you're looking yourself up, don't stop at Google. Check the other search engines, which may give you different results. Remember Technorati, in case your name appears in a blog somewhere. Finally, remember to update your profile at LinkedIn and anywhere else you've posted it. Everything should reinforce the message you're trying to send about yourself, and you have complete control over those profiles.
Above all, never be surprised when an interviewer knows things about you that she found through an online search.