After recently having my wallet somewhat mysteriously disappear, and then reappear in the hands of a police office, I decided to participate in a free trial of indentify theft protection. So I now have access to my confidential financial information, and I know the bank is monitoring my financial activity. But who is monitoring my name on publically accessible Internet search engines? To my surprise, just by typing my first and last name, my LinkedIn account was the second result in the search engine, and my picture from my LinkedIn account was the second image result. After Googling my full name, the first result was my undergraduate degree from St. Olaf College. I have Googled my name before but did not yield results such as these until after my undergraduate graduation. I was shocked to find my LinkedIn profile to be so public. Anyone who Googles my name will have full access to my education and employment background. I am not so sure that I am ok with this information being so public.

I know some people who will Google search a person before they meet them in person. Do you or anyone you know do this? Is this an appropriate way to get a first impression of a person? When applying for jobs, are employers doing a quick Internet search to see if anything of interest appears? I encourage you to Google search your name, are you proud of what appears? It is no ones responsibility, but our own, to assess what our reputation looks like on the Internet, and to remove any material that may be damaging to a professional reputation.

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