Google is the new resume, one of my favorite assignments I give students. The assignment seems simple (or does it?). Students Google their names and analyze the results. Students enter their first and last names and post their results to the virtual bulletin board. We discuss ideas like:
What is the number of hits under each category (web, photos, news, videos, etc?)
How many of those hits are accurate?
What can be improved?
How do you feel about this experience (“It was lit,” “meh,” or “bummed out”)?
How would you rate your online presence?
As a beginning class activity, I have students share their results with their neighbors. Let's imagine you're applying for your dream job, and you're Googled by the Assistant Superintendent. These are the exact results he finds. How would he view you as a professional?
Let me ask you the same questions, think about it.
What came up with Google?
What does it say about you as an educator?
I encourage you to do the same. When you Google yourself, what results do you get?
Challenge: Look through your social media account – would you hire yourself?
The same holds true for what you like, comment, reply to, or share online...not just what you post. You represent yourself online in everything you do. Make sure you are representing yourself in a professional manner.
Results that come up usually fall into these categories
Good professional content - professional social media and digital portfolio
Neutral accurate information online, such as award winners, GPAs, or times on a track meet.
Nothing WOO HOO! Insert loud buzzer noise here - WRONG! - It may have been a good thing in the past, but today you want to be found online. Who controls your digital presence if not you? It's scary to think about that! You want something to show up, and that something should be positive and professional.
I have a common name. You may want to use your middle name or middle initial with your professional accounts if you are in this boat. You should use the same name on your resume, digital portfolio, and social media accounts. Start creating amazing things under your professional name.
I have students who find something that they don't want a future employer to see (like a photo or two). This provides an opportunity to talk about tagging photos and being more aware of their photos that show you online.
Besides conducting background checks on a teacher candidate, many school districts will also Google you. They want to know what you are doing and what you have done to impact the lives of children. Take advantage of this opportunity to showcase your professional skills. If you are going to have a digital presence, you should make it WOW, not "meh" (Couros, 2016).
Professionalism is not a light switch you turn on and off when you enter a classroom.