If you’ve ever Googled your name, the search results can be pretty terrifying–especially if you have a common name like Jane Smith or the like. What’s even more horrifying? College admissions officers potential employers can see the same search results as you. Yikes!
Thankfully, there are ways around that now, and a lot of colleges are actually providing them to students. A bunch of schools are offering free subscriptions to services like BrandYourself, which lets you customize your own Google search results of your name. This allows you to put your best stuff on the first page–and most potential jobs don’t look past the first page anyway. You can replace partying pics (which you should never tag to begin with!) or blog entries about an ex boyfriend with a cool school picture and a resume or info about your track and field times, your choir coming in first place at their last competition, or that awesome painting you did for your school’s art show.
One of BrandYourself’s co-founders, Pete Kistler, had a problem with his Google search results of his name, and that’s what led him to starting the service. “He couldn’t get an internship because he was getting mistaken for a drug dealer with the same name,” BrandYourself co-founder Patrick Ambron told CBS News. “He couldn’t even get calls back and found out that was the problem.” Holy cow, could you imagine?
There are other services similar to BrandYourself, which costs $10 a month, but they can cost between hundreds and thousands of dollars to set up. If you don’t have a common name, you’ll probably be okay with just being careful with what you post online–and remember that even if you’re not tagged in scandalous pictures on Facebook, someone else can still right-click, save, and re-upload it somewhere else. If you keep a personal blog, you may want to do it under a pseudonym, whereas if you keep a professional-style blog–say, one about music, cupcake recipes, fashion, or sports–you’ll want to have your name attached to it as much as possible, especially if you’re going into a field someday that’s related to it.
Have you ever found something weird when you Googled your name? What shows up in Google search results of your name? Have you ever had drama with your name being the same as someone else’s who was bad news? Tell us in the comments!