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When Anonymity is Bad
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Old 09-09-2016, 07:49 AM
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I am looking for suggestions. I have read several reputable articles and know from others that prospective employers like to Google prospective employees.

The article I read lately stated that not only do they do that but now if you don't pop up in search with a social media presence they assume you're an unhinged loner.

Alright so I finally switched my screen name for Facebook to reflect my legal name the one I put on job applications. Now they can google away and always find me.

Right?! Wrong. Turns out that my name is not only nearly as common as John Smith but that the top result for name is a fictional character that last appeared onscreen over a decade ago.

So what do I do? Should I legally change my name so that I can apply under the name that is almost only attached to me?

Should I add my middle initial will employers like that or think I am being an ass?

I am curious what's the best way to make sure my resume doesn't look like that of a ghost.

P.S. Ironically no one in my state could legally change their name to mine because there is a law on the books forbidding the use of Fictional Character names when changing your name in the courts.
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Old 09-09-2016, 01:39 PM
TheHuckster TheHuckster is offline
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I've done hiring in the past, and often times I'd see people specifically link to their Twitter and LinkedIn profiles from their resume. Not so much Facebook because an individual's Facebook profile is more personal and it's really none of the employer's business what it's like.

If you have a Twitter account that has non-controversial or incriminating stuff on it, I'd say just put that on. If you have LinkedIn, by all means put that on.

I'm not sure what field you're in, but you might also want to check if there's some kind of community specific to your field. For instance, in software engineering, people have linked to their Stack Overflow activity to demonstrate they are capable of helping others and answer questions.

That would go a long way to demonstrate you're not a loner, and in fact you have a respectable online presence that's relevant to what they're looking for.

I know an increasing amount of people who are relinquishing their Facebook accounts, either because it's a time sink or they're just sick of the privacy issues Facebook has, and they haven't seen it affect their job prospects.

Changing your name would be disastrous, mainly because then they'd probably see it in a background check or whatever, and would be wondering, "Now, why is this shady person changing his name all of a sudden."
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Old 09-09-2016, 02:07 PM
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I'm not sure what field you're in,
I am a customer service rep (specifically inbound call centers when people call about their accounts that's me) I took the last year off because I put my savings into moving my folks into a home they can afford now trying to get back out there.

In my field being sociable and able to communicate with others is considered important.
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Old 09-09-2016, 08:11 PM
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Unless using social media is a direct part of the job, there's no reason to even mention it. I try to remain as anonymous as possible. There's nothing wrong with a lack of presence on the web. Hell, I'm advised to keep a low profile. But there's nothing wrong with keeping your personal life personal.

I have my linkedin public and that's it. It's professional and meant for work. But Facebook? If they want to know something about my personal life, they can ask me myself. They don't have to spy on my personal life.
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Old 09-10-2016, 12:25 AM
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Ironically no one in my state could legally change their name to mine because there is a law on the books forbidding the use of Fictional Character names when changing your name in the courts.
Now there's a silly law. Any idea why it was passed?
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Old 09-10-2016, 02:26 AM
Gravekeeper Gravekeeper is offline
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Unless using social media is a direct part of the job, there's no reason to even mention it. I try to remain as anonymous as possible.
Agreed, especially as a call centre CSR. Your web presence should be irrelevant. If you were a PR rep or something sure. But with call centre work, least at my company, our identities were protected by the company policies. Not data mined by them.

The only thing you had to disclose was if you talked about the company on web forums. So they could check to make sure you weren't naming the company or revealing private information about clients, etc ( since we're all NDA'd at my company due to how much sensitive data we handled).

We had one idiot fired because she took to her personal blog and not only said where she worked, but named individual staff members at the company who she considered to be "fucking assholes" etc etc. Basically went on a 5 paragraph spiel railing against her boss, coworkers, etc. With lots of colourful language. Then was surprised when that got her fired.

Other than that all my company wanted as an email address so they could send any relevant work related info when needed.
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Old 09-10-2016, 01:42 PM
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Now there's a silly law. Any idea why it was passed?
I have a theory that it's to avoid a John Smith thing. Part of the same law about name changes is that you cannot do so if you are attempting to separate yourself from a criminal record. Basically a fictional name makes background checks nearly impossible. As like when googling my name you're more likely to run down the fictional character I share a name with than myself.

I did a lot of research when going through my divorce as I was thinking of changing my name at the time.
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Old 09-10-2016, 01:50 PM
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Agreed, especially as a call centre CSR. Your web presence should be irrelevant.
Should be yes. But I had a co-worker that got a talking to because she listed her employer not thinking anything of it (especially since we were a contractor our employer wasn't who we took calls for our company was the call center for a utility center but customers don't know that)

She then posted something supporting some charity I don't remember what and she got spoken to that she either needed to remove the name of her employer or her support for that charity as it's not something the owner of the company supports and felt that her being an employee people would assume the company supports it.

And yes I get how epically stupid that assumes people are. "Wait you work for Winfred-Lowder and you wear white after labor day? By god everyone at Winfred-Lowder must believe in wearing white after Labor Day!"
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