In my About, I’d mentioned that I managed to use Google Webmaster to professionalize search results for my name. The tutorial came up on the first page of results when I researched my problem, and it first it looked a little frightening and technical–and I’ve got a background in web-buiding. It involves googling your name and taking the URL of every webpage and picture you uploaded when you were twelve (or twenty) and submitting it to Google with a reason for removal. I’m not sure how they verify that the pictures belong to you, or if you can do it for other people, but HERE is the link (I was unable to find the tutorial I used–the page is pretty self-explanatory).
If you need the pictures down tomorrow… you’re out of luck. This takes time to process, maybe a few months. But it’s something that needs to be done, and too many young professionals choose to carry the shame because they aren’t sure how to clean up their results, or they’re unwilling to put forth the effort and patience. You’ve got this link, you’ve got at least a minute–heck, if your search results summon a wall of your most embarrassing life moments to date, you can work it in chunks. Start with the worst ones, and slowly work your way up to a squeaky-clean name search.
And while you do that, I’ll think about obtaining (and writing about) professional headshots so we can replace those less-than-lovely pictures.