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I happen to have the same name as someone who was convicted of a particularly terrible crime.

So when I google my name results about that other person are at the top of the results page.

By a fluke they also happen to live only a few towns over. They're three years younger than I am.

But still this has made me quite worried about being confused for this person when I apply to roles, which I am currently doing. This other person has done something I find totally abhorrent and potentially detrimental to my prospects if someone were to mistake me for them even just by name.

My online presence isn't that great either, I'm a few pages deep in google results for things I link to in my CV.

How likely is it that this will hurt my chances when applying for a job?

Any advice would be welcome.

  • I have heard of hiring managers deciding not to hire someone due to a Google search. Whenever I think of these situations, I decide that I wouldn't want to work for such a company. – Clarinetist Nov 12 '17 at 0:09
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How likely is it that this will hurt my chances when applying for a job?

The best thing you could do IMHO is have a LinkedIn profile that has your picture included as part of your CV\Resume. This way when looking at your credentials they can see your not the criminal.

Alternatively, if you don't want to create a LinkedIn account, you could just include a recent photo embedded in the resume\cv itself. I'll admit this is not common, but it should not hurt you, and will help you against the Google effect.

  • 1
    Thank you for the advice, I really appreciate it. Unfortunately the news report didn’t include a photograph. But I guess it will at least help them to find my profile. My LinkedIn profile is pretty bare social media and networking are not a strong point for me. But I’ll give it a shot, thank you again. – A.Watkin Nov 9 '17 at 15:10
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    "just include a recent photo embedded in the resume\cv itself" - I've been told this is being discouraged lately ... but I am not an expert. – Fildor Nov 9 '17 at 15:25
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    @Fildor I normally don't either, but would definitely consider it as a way to distinguish myself from a criminal if I were in the OP's position. – Mister Positive Nov 9 '17 at 15:45
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    Adding a pic might backfire as HR may not consider any CV's with pictures - to avoid any potential legal problems – Neuromancer Nov 9 '17 at 22:08
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    If you include a photo in your CV in Ireland most companies will throw it away. They're not allowed to judge based on looks and having a policy of throwing away CV's with photos is a way to ensure they are not accused of this. – Keith Loughnane Nov 10 '17 at 13:18
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It is unlikely to matter.

First, unless you have a terribly unique name, it is pretty common for two people to have the same name. I have a pretty good Google presence but there are at least two other people named Justin Cave that come up on the first page of Google results. People generally aren't going to assume that the criminal A Watkin is the same as you.

Second, since this person was convicted of a serious felony, they're presumably going to be spending some time in jail and that conviction is going to show up on a background check. Unless you happen to have been unemployed during the window that this person was in jail, potential employers are going to figure out pretty quickly that you are two different people. And when your background check comes up clean, they'll be assured that you're someone else.

You can certainly work to improve your online presence and you can include relevant links on your resume/ LinkedIn to your online resources. The first page of Google results will almost certainly still include the information about the criminal, though, so you likely want to help people avoid the need to Google your name in the first place. Most employers won't bother searching on your name if you provide them links to follow. It appears that you are a developer so including a link to your LinkedIn profile, a GitHub account with some code samples, a StackOverflow account where you've answered some questions, or a blog that has some technical content would all be appropriate. If you make it easy for a potential employer to get the information they're after, they're much less likely to bother going to a search engine in the first place.

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As someone suggested to use a complete Linkedin profile, but I have another approach for you.

Make your online presence bigger

Make multiple accounts with your real name on many websites, Quora, Reddit etc. maybe on technical forums and whereever possible and use real images of yourself. Obviously, dont post any strange things using these accounts. You wont need to regularly update them, just have them existing to somehow 'seed' the google search to have your name, associated with these accounts and this image of a person.

Walla, you are now on the first page of the result with multiple images online segregating yourself from anyone else. Be sure to have a short bio on any of the accounts you make and make at least 10-20 just be sure. Sure, it'll take an hour or two but will most likely solve your problem.

Downside is that you would need to make these profiles public, but at least companies find you easier and know who you are (and how you're not a con).

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    I don't think it's likely you'll be able to outcompete a notorious criminal who has the exact same name. – Erik Nov 10 '17 at 6:08
  • You goal is not to out compute the criminal, but have a significant online presence which can help distinguish you from a criminal, if someone were to go looking. btw. I googled OP, I wont go into too many details here to protect OP's identity but OP already seems to have taken a similar approach (linkedin + social media) to battle a single news article. So I think that is pretty good. If he actually uses the above approach completely, he might be able to make a difference – Koe Koe Nov 10 '17 at 13:32

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