Web Names

In August, MSNBC posted an article warning job-candidates of their internet image. The article used an example of a “well-qualified young female psychiatrist”, where upon doing a due-diligence check that led the interviewer to Facebook and MySpace, she was featured removing her top in several photos.

Who hasn’t Googled their name? I’d venture a guess as to not many now a days. But, maybe because I’m a little slow, I didn’t think about what my internet image would be or is.

Back in 1998, shortly after Google landed with a smash on the web, and I started to go back to school at MSU, I began Googling myself, mostly to see if my MSU web page came up, and it did. As the months and years went on, I noticed that a friend here or there had a link to me, or my name, so I’d pop up there too. At most, I had 5 entries, a half Google page. In fact, Google couldn’t Google me further than that!

Now, I’m married. Now, I have, in a way, two names, my married and my maiden name. What would happen if I Googled my married name? Oddly, several entries appear, and it seems that as I’ve been married nearly one year, even more entries appear than when we first were married. The most prolific entry is from a blond girl, slightly older than I am, from California. She seems bubbly enough, but perhaps a bit flirty, especially for the internet. Now the thought occurs, what if someone Googled me for a job search? Is this why my job search of several months has continued to run up dry? Are these other names on the internet blowing my chances to work with the place I covet most, TriMet?

I could go on with my thoughts, but I fear it would be too conspiratorial. Then, of course, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean their watching you, right? I really did just roll my eyes there. I cannot believe there is a human-made grand design, so I cannot believe that all these jobs that have evaded me is because of someone else who shares my name, and who clearly has had my married name as her birth name a heck of a lot longer!

So, the question begs – do you address this in a cover letter? “And, while you consider me for the candidate you are looking for, please disregard anything you may find while Googling my name through your due-diligence report. As you can see from the enclosed photograph, the personas featured on the web are not me, therefore I remain the most qualified candidate.” How would that go? Horribly, I fear. So, perhaps, it’s juts another Catch-22.