Every now and then, it’s a good idea to type your own name into the search box on Google and check out the results. You may be surprised by the type and amount of information about you that is readily available online. Why should you take this step and what does it have to do with looking for freelance writing work?
It’s quite simple: A current or potential client who wants to know more about you may decide to check you out online. I have been contacted by two clients who have done so. In one case, someone I had just started working with sent me a writer’s profile from a site I used to work for and asked if I was the same person. In the other situation, a client who wanted to find somewhere to post a job ad found FWJ (and me) as a result of his online search.
Both situations had a positive outcome, but I admit that I am very careful about what I put out in cyberspace. Not only do search engines index work that I have done under my own name, but they also pick up comments made on web sites and blogs. Do you use Twitter? Your tweets can show up in an online search. Same with your LinkedIn and Facebook pages.
Just as an experiment, I Googled my own name recently. Someone who wants to find out about me can see the items I just mentioned, as well as find out my age, where I went to high school, and what year I graduated. None of these factors should make any difference in whether I can do a job or not, but they do provide information about who I am.
It was an interesting exercise and one that I will keep in mind if I ever get the urge to go on a major rant online. As it is, if I wouldn’t want my mother or my children to read it, I don’t post it. Keeping it PG works for me.
Have you ever had a client check you out online (that you know of)? Do you look up your own name to see what comes up in the results?