Is Your Virtual Alter Ego Hurting (or Helping) Your Career? |

There are 3 people in the USA with my husband’s name. If you roll the three versions of George together you have the image of a philanthropic cafĂ© owning chiropractor who is a bass player in a sludge-metal-punk rock band. Interesting image - but only partially accurate.

In a world where Google is a verb and 45% of firms admit to using social media sites to screen prospective employees, you need to know how your professional brand is shaped by those who share your name. Your unexpected namesakes may be giving you an alter ego in cyberspace, one that might be damaging your professional reputation.

Do you know how many people share your name? Click the HowManyofMe website to learn how many Americans share your name.

From my results, I am the only Paula Caligiuri in the USA. This was 1-letter close. In the late 1990's one of my Rutgers colleagues taped a newspaper headline on my door which read “Caligiuri returns to Galaxy”. The headline (I later learned) was about Paul Caligiuri, a professional soccer player, who, at that time, was returning to the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team. Paul Caligiuri is a soccer legend. He is an American who played soccer professionally in Europe (rare) and scored the game-winning goal in 1989 which qualified the United States for the FIFA World Cup (also rare).

Paul Caligiuri inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame - photo from UCLA Soccer websitePaul Caligiuri inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame - photo from UCLA Soccer website

As an aside, in case you are curious, Paul and I are not related – minimally evidenced by the fact that we cannot possibly share any common genetic predisposition for athleticism. I have none. Truth be told, I like basking in the reflected glory of my darn-close virtual alter-ego. Thanks Paul.

What should you do if you have an unexpected namesake who may harm your professional reputation? Here are three suggestions to try:

  1. Own the domain name of your name. It is not expensive to register a domain name and it will prevent your unrelated namesakes from further altering your professional brand and image.
  2. Use your middle name or full name to build a separate and searchable professional identity. Build your professional profile around using your full name consistently in anything which may be searchable (e.g., Linked-In).
  3. Bring it up first, especially if your unexpected namesake is about the same age or in the same geographical region. You can, in passing, mention to a colleague or prospective employer who might search for you online how to identify you. For example, "You should check out my travel reviews online but be aware that there are a couple of Minnie Mouse’s who do these reviewers. I am the Minnie Mouse from California, not the one from Florida. What will consistently differentiate you from the others who share your name?

Do you have a virtual alter ego? I'd love to hear from you and your experience with others who share your name.


Posted via web from AndyWergedal