Monday, October 12, 2009

"Digital Dirt" Can Haunt Your Job Search

Just like Vegas, what happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet. How that affects your job search is up to you.

Gone are the days when all you were concerned with was whether or not your résumé and cover letter were error-free.

Now, you've got bigger things to worry about -- like what kind of personal information is floating around online.

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 a candidate.

"Hiring someone is scary," says Zack Grossbart, a virtual team coach and author of "The One Minute Commute."

"You're paying them to represent your company, and your reputation affects theirs. No company wants a newspaper headline with their name in it because of an embarrassing employee."

Times have changed

Not only has the use of the Internet, social networking sites, blogs and other new 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," Grossbart says.

"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."

Read the complete story here.

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