When considering Googling myself, I thought it would be a learning experience regarding what I found on the page. When you hear about people Googling themselves, it’s usually not in a great context. Especially if that person is well established in certain circles or professional online communities, what comes up when they’re Googled can make it or break it for them. Of course, a new invention as of late has been companies popping up and promising complete control over your online profile…for a fee.
So imagine my surprise when I Googled myself and found almost nothing! I found three pictures: 2 I uploaded as my Twitter avatars, and one from the CSC paper back in the fall of 2015. Other than that, it was just a bunch of other people with variations of or my exact name. At first I was relieved. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything worthy of shameful Google results, but who knows? But then, I got to thinking: what does this mean for me professionally?
It’s no secret that potential employers will Google potential employees as a low-key background check (then there are background checks, too, but that’s a different story). If they find something they don’t like, it’s not a surprise if you don’t get the job. If they see you’re active in online communities relevant to your career and don’t have actions shots from “Case Day 2k15!!1” on your Facebook profile, you should be in the clear. But what if your employer sees nothing at all? Just a couple of (admittedly unflattering) photos you posted to a social media site and a non-detailed school newspaper article? If they can’t view your Facebook profile, will they see that as a bad sign? I was quite surprised when the uneasiness came from what I didn’t find, rather than what I did.
I suppose the most unsettling part is that I had never previously considered building my online persona for future (or current) employers, colleagues, etc. When a classmate mentioned their LinkedIn profile, I was shocked. You mean people under 30 use that site? But now I’m not so sure. While I’m grateful I’ve been responsible with my internet use, I would really like to stand out to future career connections. I want people to look me up and see a page full of reasons why they should connect with me. While I was so concerned about standing out for the wrong reasons, I never for a second considered I might be blending in too much!
The takeaway: I will definitely consider starting up a LinkedIn profile, even if I feel I have nothing to offer up for my profile yet. It’s never too early to start, and I’m already in college! I will also consider the social media formats we’ve been using for class these past weeks. I remember being pleasantly surprised at how helpful and passionate the communities were on here and Twitter, so I should definitely use that to my advantage. Overall, I’m grateful for this exercise, since it opened my eyes in more ways than one!