Why You Should Frequently Google Yourself
Many people have a complicated relationship with the idea of using Google to search for themselves. It’s fair—there have been scientific studies done that show that searching for yourself online is a highly narcissistic trait. However, when it comes to your professional life, Googling yourself is exactly what you should be doing, because that’s what future employers and clients are likely doing. Google is an excellent way to keep track of your online reputation. Here’s what you should be looking for:
What are the top search results?
In order to get the most accurate search results, you should use Google in a browser that you don’t normally use—that way, you’re not simply seeing your personalized results. Once you Google your name, what do you see?
The first page of results is likely also what a potential employer or client would also see. Social media, unfortunately, ranks high when search results appear under people’s names. Other things that may show up are online memberships to websites and any online publications that may be associated with your name.
Do you have a common surname, like Smith, Johnson, or Garcia? It may be more difficult to find results that are actually about you rather than other people who share your name. In order to find yourself in this situation, it would be helpful to put in an identifier, such as the college you attended or the company you work for. This would help narrow down the results.
Other searches you should do? Any common usernames (such as your Twitter handle), your email address, and an image search of your name. This might show you any forums you’ve written on and any online locations where your email address is publically available; the image search would display images related to your name—and a picture is worth a thousand words, as they say.
Are there results you’re not happy with?
Did you find anything that you wish wasn’t available online? Here is where you can start cleansing your online reputation so that anyone who searches for you sees what you’d like them to see. If there is anything that you notice is posted on something you own—like a social media profile or a forum—you can go there and delete the post. However, if something is posted on something you don’t own—like someone else mentioned you in a way that you don’t want visible—you’ll have to log a request with the website to remove the post. This may seem like a lot of work, but it will be worth it in the end—cleaning up your Google search results could easily improve your chances of finding work in the future.
Can you improve your Google results?
While neither you nor Google can control what comes up in a Google search, there are ways you can improve your results. Unsurprisingly, some of the first results listed on Google are often companies related to Google, like YouTube and Google+. If you don’t produce videos, creating a Google+ profile is one of the easiest ways to control your search results. You can share whatever you choose on your Google+ profile in order to start building an online image, which would help your search results. Aside from creating a Google+ profile, cleaning up your search results, as previously mentioned, is the best way to go.
If you’re wondering why you aren’t getting interviews after applying for jobs, or why you’re not getting the amount of clients you thought you would, you should Google yourself and see what you find out. Good luck!
By Alison Monahan
Even in today’s challenging job market, it is possible! Stay tuned and you’ll find useful content for law students and lawyers, to help you figure out what you want from a legal career and then go get it. Your future awaits!
When I graduated from Columbia Law School in 2006, the world was a different place. Jobs were plentiful, and the legal profession was booming. Since then, things have changed. Entry-level hiring dropped off during the recession, and hasn’t really picked back up.
Scary? Yes, but also an opportunity. When I left my BigLaw job in 2010, I entered a world of creative, engaged legal entrepreneurs who were charting a new path through a staid profession. What I’ve come to realize over the last four years is this — it doesn’t matter what type of lawyer you want to be. Everyone, from the most junior staff attorney to a partner with huge book of business, has to think creatively and strategically to create the legal career they want.
The good news is that you’ve got opportunities the last generation of attorneys never dreamed of…if you’re flexible and diligent enough to seize them.
I came to law school via a circuitous path, including an undergraduate degree in Sociology (at UNC-Chapel Hill) and a master’s degree in Architecture (at UC-Berkeley). After architecture school, I several years spent as a web application developer in San Francisco before deciding to go to law school.
At Columbia Law School, I was a member of the Columbia Law Review, a Kent and Stone Scholar, and a Teaching Assistant for Civil Procedure.
Maybe I’m just an eternal optimist, but I really do think the flip side of “threat” is “opportunity.”
It’s no secret the legal profession has a ton of problems these days, but there are also opportunities if you know where to look. Stay tuned, and we’ll explore together!