Job-Hunt.org Introduces "Defensive Googling," a Method to Minimize Mistaken Identity Online

Share Article

A new problem is ambushing job seekers now - mistaken identity online. Recent studies show that recruiters Google job applicants’ names nearly 80% of the time, with 70% admitting that they have rejected applicants based on those search results. The question: are recruiters rejecting the appropriate person or just someone with the same name?

Job-Hunt.org, helping with job search since 1995

Job-Hunt.org

“Google is your new resume,” says Dick Bolles, author of “What Color Is Your Parachute?” So, every job seeker needs to be sure that the employer finds them - NOT someone else - when doing a search on the job seeker’s name.

“Google is your new resume,” says Dick Bolles, author of “What Color Is Your Parachute?” So, every job seeker needs to be sure that the employer finds them - NOT someone else - when doing a search on the job seeker’s name.

The problem: Barely 30% of job seekers worry about their online reputations. A job seeker may be leading a blameless life and feel he or she has no reason to worry about what is online or what accurate public records show. However, someone else - who shares the same name - may not be so blameless. And, recruiters who Google the job seeker’s name will be unaware that the “bad” person Google showed them is not the job seeker. When the names are the same, that may be enough “proof.”

Nor is the recruiter likely to have the time or inclination to do the research to determine if the miscreant is – or is NOT - the job seeker. So, opportunity lost! Perhaps, many opportunities…

And, of course, no one tells the job seeker about his/her problem!

So, what should a job seeker do? Defensive Googling –

1. Do a search on Google (and Bing) of the name(s) the job seeker uses on his or her resumes and job applications to see what is associated with those names.

2. Carefully study the first 10 pages of search results. Look for anything negative that an employer would see associated with the job seeker’s name (even if it is NOT about the job seeker).

3. Repeat the search on Google (and Bing) with different variations of the name until a “clean” version is found.

A clean version of the name doesn’t have anything negative - from anyone - associated with it, but it is the job seeker's real name, perhaps with a different variation of the first name or the addition of middle name or middle initial - like "James Earl Jones" rather than "Jim Jones," "Jimmy Jones," "James E. Jones," or "James Jones."

4. Use the clean version of the name for the job search, on the

  • Resume
  • Cover Letters
  • Email address
  • Email signature
  • LinkedIn Profile
  • Business/networking cards
  • Job applications
  • Anything else related to job search

5. Set up a Google Alert on all versions of the name, including the “clean” version in case someone makes that name unusable.

A Google Alert is free and will notify the job seeker when something new associated with the name appears in Google search results.

This isn't "vanity Googling." This is enlightened 21st century self-defense.

Defensive Googling is just the beginning of an online reputation management program, and it shouldn’t be suspended when the job seeker has found a new job. Mistaken online identity is a permanent risk for all of us, unless we have particularly unique names.

For more information, read "Defensive Googling in 5 Steps to Minimize Mistaken Online Identity."

Award-winning Job-Hunt.org provides the best free job search resources and articles on the Internet – advice from over 50 subject-matter experts, plus links to over 18,000 carefully-selected resources, including employer recruiting pages, industry and professional associations, and local job search networking and support groups. Edited by online job search expert Susan P. Joyce since 1998, Job-Hunt.org has been helping job seekers since 1995.

Don’t forget that hyphen - it puts the dash in your Job-Hunt!

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Susan P. Joyce