By Professor Herb Ramy
Director, Academic Support Program, Suffolk University Law School
A recent “Tip of the Week” touched on the importance of treating your email messages as a professional form of communication. Continuing with the idea of conveying only positive information about yourself, our “ASP Tip of the Week” is to review your online profile and remove information if needed. As we all know, one can access an enormous amount of information via the internet. Unfortunately, many fail to fully comprehend that prospective employers and potential clients will be the first to Google your name just to see what turns up.
Many of us maintain an internet presence that others can easily access, and it is essential that you review these sources to confirm whether you or not you want the world to see this information. Photos of you at a party might be fine when only friends can find the information, but how comfortable would you be if a prospective employer saw those same pictures? Rest assured, many law firms review the internet as a standard aspect of their hiring process just to see what they may be getting themselves into.
In addition to reviewing locations that you may be aware of, it is a good idea to conduct a web search for the various versions of your name. You may be surprised at what you can find, and if you can find it, others can as well. If possible, delete entries of questionable taste. If you cannot delete the information, you will at least know what is out there. This will give you time to formulate a reasonable response to the inevitable questions that will arise during an interview.
If you doubt that a prospective employer would care about a few less than tasteful pictures of you on the internet, consider this. Law firms often receive hundreds of applications for a single job opening. In addition, lawyers are viewed as representatives of their respective law firms to the outside world. With this in mind, if you were the hiring partner, would you invest your time, money and effort into a person whose Facebook page looks a scene from the movie Animal House?
When in doubt, scrub it out!