Job seekers should not only manage how they come across in person, but on the Web, too. We often forget that everything you post online, from your Facebook profile to your Amazon book reviews, is out there for others to see and judge.
"Most employers nowadays hop on Google to search a name as a preliminary step, either before or right after the interview," says Monique Tatum, author of "Jumping Off the Curb and Into SEO Traffic." "A positive and strong online presence can play a tremendous part in the employer's first impression."
In 2009, 45 percent of employers used social networking sites to research candidates, according to a CareerBuilder survey, a 23 percent increase from last year. Thirty-five percent of employers said that what they found caused them not to hire the candidate.
Times have changed:
Not only has the use of the Internet, social networking sites, blogs and other news media skyrocketed in recent years; all of these things have revolutionized the job search. It used to be that if a hiring manager dug around online and couldn't find anything, it was a good thing. Today, however, if you have no online presence, it could be more of a career killer than if an employer found some digital dirt.
"If you have an established career and no online presence, it is a big red flag for employers," Employers expect to find blogs, forum posts, LinkedIn profiles and many other sources of information about you. If you haven't been mentioned by other people in a professional context, employers will wonder why not."
Sweep the dirt under the rug-
One of the easiest ways to get rid of your digital dirt is to create more of it -- except the good kind. Tatum suggests developing your own positive content by creating articles, starting a blog or posting to forums. As long as you can smother any negative information about you, you should be OK in an initial employer search.
Something to be proud of-
If you want to build a digital footprint that won't scare away future employers, here are five tips on how to do it:
- Make your content useful.
- Join social networks, both for career purposes and social purposes.
- If you can't delete it, smother it.
- Avoid joining groups or engaging in online activities that could embarrass or restrict.
- Beware the cyber twin.
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