If you google my name (not my username, my actual name), nothing comes up that's related to me.

The closest thing is a family relative's LinkedIn profile, which has no mention of me.

This is no mistake - I've worked very hard to keep it this way. With all the news articles about recently about people getting fired because of things said online, I have never entered my real name online except on legal documents (bank accounts, etc) which are not publicly available or on google. Will this hurt or help my resume (or neither)? I'm applying to multiple tech companies, so my first guess is that it will help because it will show I'm smart enough to stay under the radar. However, I also think it won't help because it may cause the future employer to think I'm trying to hide something (I'm not directly, I just don't think it's a good idea to have all that publicly available info).

  • 3
    My name is Mike Jones. Google that.
    – n00b
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 15:23
  • 3
    One would guess that you aren't that mike jones.
    – Jon
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 15:25
  • That's kind of my point. Someone with no online presence is as anonymous as somebody with a shared name which is a large portion of the population. In anycase I'm with you. I prefer to be anonymous. Mike Jones is not my real name btw. But if it was, I wouldnt care to share it :)
    – n00b
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 15:34
  • This is interesting and I am curious about the answers because I am Mike Jones as well, so I use my middle name when I'm in the market, mostly to make it easier for potential employers to creep me online. Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 17:53
  • 3
    i ... why are you asking this? How are you going to get an online presence if everybody says "no, you need one"? Are you going to invent something new? Are you just asking if you need a linked in account?
    – bharal
    Commented Sep 19, 2014 at 16:20

7 Answers 7


I think there is no harm.

Let's look at it this way. Why would an employer look for a potential employee's online presence? Is he looking for good thing about that employee? Or bad thing?

The employer has many ways to determine the employee's skills, experience and other info. What he is concerned is that he does not want to hire a trouble maker.

I don't know your real name. I googled your user name and have found 8390 results. Suppose this was your real name, would I have time to go through all these results to see if you are good or bad? I think I would go through the first 50 or so results to see if you have a bad mouth. Once your name passes this check, you would be on my potential list.

If I see some good stuff you put online, I would not necessarily think you are really that good. How do I know you are the one who did it? If I see bad stuff, I tend to think you are a bad person. (you have the responsibility to clean up your record).

My answer, no presence is no worse than presence (good or bad).

  • 1
    For summary, good stuff online doesn't necessary make you look good; but bad thing does make you look bad.
    – Ooker
    Commented Sep 19, 2014 at 13:59
  • I would add the fact that the only way I can think of it could be not beneficial to you is for a job as related to some kind of community manager on the net. It's not like it will play against you, but it will play in favor of others candidtes with already related experience on the net to show.
    – Walfrat
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 15:56

Will this hurt or help my resume (or neither)? I'm applying to multiple tech companies, so my first guess is that it will help because it will show I'm smart enough to stay under the radar. However, I also think it won't help because it may cause the future employer to think I'm trying to hide something.

I'm trying to imagine a situation where a potential employer would think "I've got to hire this guy Chipperyman - because he is so smart, he has found a way to evade Google."

I can't see how this could help. I could imagine where it could hurt, but I think the possibility is very remote.

Just in case, you might want to think about how you would respond in an interview if asked "When I searched your name on Google, I found nothing. Why is that?"

Try to come up with reasons that don't sound like you are trying to hide something, and don't sound like you are afraid of something. Be aware that most interviewers won't share your concern (rightly or wrongly) about public information.

(As an aside, you might want to have someone else do a search for your name. One possibility is that your searching skills aren't sufficient to find yourself. You'd be amazed at what is available online if you know how to find it.)

  • 2
    I have several anecdotal occurrences of friends/acquaintances not being hired because of social media postings casting them in a less than positive light. I have no anecdotal evidence of friends/acquaintances not being hired because of no social media. I also have none of someone being hired because of social media. (Note, I do not equate LinkdIn as 'regular' social media)
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Sep 19, 2014 at 15:52
  • @CGCampbell Do you have any acquaintances that you know have no online presence? Without at least one, your anecdotal evidence can only have the result you've found. I also have no evidence of people that I personally know losing out on jobs due to the presence or absence of social media content. But I can imagine a scenario where an employer searches, finds nothing and assumes that the candidate has scrubbed their social media due to some past incident. Why put that thought in their mind. I suggest a few positive accounts so that they find something and everything seems normal. Commented Sep 19, 2014 at 20:29
  • @JohnOglesby Yes, actually. Several (3) friends and a coworker have no personal social media. My wife also does not. I do have limited, because the agency that contracts me frowns deeply on it, as well as the company I work for. I don't have to imagine, I know, if my company scrubs social media and finds nothing, they will accept privacy as a legitimate answer as to why.
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Sep 20, 2014 at 0:03

Short answer is no... and this is why...

As someone who hires in IT let me explain what we consider in regards to your internet presence, and what we absolutely don't care about at all. (this is in my company, your mileage may vary)

How we even look

Due to the volume of applicants we receive we don't even check until you make our short list (depending on the role this is typically like 5 - 7 candidates) At this point we have a tool (I don't know the name of it) that does puts together what information it can find on Bing, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, G+, etc.

This then parses through what information it collects from these probes and filters out anything it's smart enough to flag as a potential concern. Typically these include discrepancies between your resume any sites with work history, talk about drug use or criminal activity, and a few undesirable personality traits.

These "items of concern" are reviewed by HR and if bad enough HR will pull you from consideration. The software does false positive a lot by design, but HR will quickly go through and only note legitimate concerns.

What we don't care about

Generally speaking we don't care if you do or do not use any service. We don't care if you have some really well known tech blog, have a strong following on Github, are viewed as an expert on SO, etc. (The only exception might be if we were hiring a spokesman, but that's outside the scope of this question, and something we've never done)

What we do care about

We really only care about things that would effectively remove you from consideration for hiring. Use of illicit narcotics, criminal activity, history of violence, bad mouthing employers publicly, or other personality red flags. That said a single facebook post flagging won't get you blocked from consideration. (unless it was something REALLY damning) we care more about trends. Do you constantly seem to lose your temper? Call everyone an idiot? Bad mouth your employer? These would potentially disqualify your application.

Why do we take this approach

We need to filter out people we won't hire. Otherwise if we do hire you, then find out you've got serious anger management issues to the point we fire you we've wasted our time and money.

We choose not to use these tools to look for good items as they can often be faked online, and we want to know what's important to you. Interviews are the time you truly sell yourself, make me think if I let this guy go I'm going to regret it, I NEED him on my team. If you got a Nobel Peace Prize now is the time to wow me. Have a project on Github that was pulled 5 million times? Blow my mind! Have a high score on SO... sorry, I do love SO, but that really means nothing to me... It is a time to see what motivates you, what makes you tick? will working for me motivate you more, or suck the motivation right out of you?


Personally, I find it unnerving if applicants do not have a linkedin account or something similar. It makes me concerned that they aren't "with it" or have some bad reason to "do things the way they know".

I've done a very good job (but not entirely perfect) at separating things associated with my name and my nick. In some cases this is regrettable (for example my awesome programmers.stackexchange history won't come up with potential employers). In some cases it's beneficial (for example my highly opinionated programmers.stackexchange answers won't come up with potential employers...).

It is useful to have a public online persona for many careers, and increasingly vital for some.

  • Stackexchange allows you to change your nickname if you want to go that road.
    – Christian
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 13:59
  • 6
    If I'm applying for a technological company that thinks that if you're not on linked in you are not "with it" that's not a company I want to "be with".
    – n00b
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 15:26
  • @JoeStrazzere - Not so much, but every profession has advances and I would expect good candidates to at least be aware of recent advances in their field. I hire computer programmers, where keeping up to date is pretty vital. For programmers especially, that means using the internet. If they've done a good job using the internet to keep up to date, and do not have some social media presence, I would be curious why.
    – Telastyn
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 16:22
  • @JoeStrazzere - Indeed, that just becomes something I ask during an interview. Not having a linkedin profile isn't something that will ever prevent me from interviewing someone, even if it will change what I ask.
    – Telastyn
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 16:30

No internet presence means that you're security savvy, and take extra steps to ensure that a bunch of personal info isn't available on the web. I think a company worth working for would understand this and not jump to ridiculous conclusions about it. (Personally, I wouldn't want to work for a company that required me to be a digital moron in order to be considered for a position.)


If the employer is one that values discretion (the CIA comes to mind) the less visible you are the better. I wouldn't recommend applying for work at social media or search engine companies where 'being seen' is the whole point, however they would also know that the 'real you' is on-line, because they know how to find you (MAC addresses speak volumes). In short, you're probably more visible than you think you are, just not to the general public.

There's probably a simple consideration to keep in mind to avoid being fired for on-line content - Don't Be An Idiot. Don't shoot pictures of yourself an a couple of friends drunk at a concert in the park. Don't put videos of yourself doing donuts in a sports car in a parking lot. Etc.

Consider that a political opinion can go either way - making reference to the Bilderberg Conspiracy (a long running right wing rant) hints at a lack of personal responsibility. Being able to explain why the political landscape of your state is changing and where you think it will go is demonstrating thinking skills - employers might not like it or agree, but if you're making a well reasoned argument they'll appreciate the thinking. Given that business politics has all kinds of nuances, the more intelligently it appears you can analyze the 'real' political landscape the more intelligently you could deal with the one inside your company.


With all the news articles about recently about people getting fired because of things said online, I have never entered my real name online except on...

I don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but it seems that you are either too paranoid or have something to hide (let me explain later). Please explain to us how having a LinkedIn account could increase the chances of you getting fired ? Unless you have no self control or turn uncouth when drunk, then the chances are zero.

If you think that you are highly skilled, can ace interviews and give real references for your past experience, then maybe you don't need an online presence at all. Just hope that your potential employer does not count on it.

Now for the part about hiding things. Sometimes people want to hide where they currently work (for privacy or from people they date). If that's the case, then you can omit your current employer on LinkedIn. Moreover, use LinkedInto hide your name from search engines. So, people will have to login to see/stalk you.

Sometimes, people fake resumes and even fake references. If that is the case, then you'll probably arouse the suspicion of coworkers even more.

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