QUESTION: I share a name with a person who has a bad public reputation, and I think it’s costing me interviews. What can I do about this?
You have several simple options to differentiate yourself:
> Use a nickname
> Use a middle initial (Michael B. Jordan)
> Use a full middle name (LaKeisha Monique Smith vs. LaKeisha Smith)
In the long term, improving your online search results will also help. Writing articles and having a social media presence on multiple platforms will dominate the top of the Google results, for example.
Many recruiters will do a social media scan and an internet (Google) search of your name. Get in front of it on your resume and LinkedIn, call out this situation, and even provide a few short links to your accurate Google search.
Try modifying your name slightly to start. Include a middle initial, change Robert to Rob, use your first initial and last name, or use your first and middle name only to avoid any initial confusion. Just make sure to align your public profiles with the same name you are using for the application. Lastly, make sure to include direct links to your profiles to avoid employers finding the bad ones.
Consider using a middle initial in your LinkedIn Profile and resume (in particularly egregious situations, some people adopt a middle name as a first name). Network extensively with your target employers, making connections and personally introducing yourself where possible; stay active on social media. The relationships and reputation you form will help distinguish you from the other individual.
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