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When applying for a job in today’s market, it’s common practice for employers to do a web search of your background prior to deciding if they want to move forward with your candidacy.  A well-managed, professional online profile can increase your chances of landing a job. Unfortunately, we have seen several examples where a candidate has been removed from consideration as a result of their posts on social media. Here are a few tips to help you with maintaining a professional online presence:

1-Keep personal and professional profiles separate.  This seems obvious, but when you consider it is common to connect online with people you work with it, isn’t always so easy to maintain.  A good rule of thumb is to not connect with work colleagues on your personal networks and to also not talk about work related topics (both good or bad) on your personal networks.  If you want to use social media for professional reasons, it is better to create a separate professional account.  Be sure to check privacy and sharing settings to make sure that anything you intend to be private is not publicly broadcasted.

2-Posting online is permanent –It’s safest to consider anything you post online will be discoverable for years to come.  Something you post as a joke can easily be taken out of context a few years later.  Additionally, reviews you post online often come up in searches as well.  Make sure that any reviews you post on sites like Amazon, Twitter, TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc. are written in a way that will not impact your chances of getting a job.

3-Keep your profile consistent across different platforms– Make sure your profile photo is professional and use the same picture across different platforms.  It’s also a good idea to have a well written summary and to outline your experience in detail on sites like LinkedIn.  That is the most common place employers look, but having this information up to date might also help recruiters identify you as a potential candidate for roles you are not aware of.  You should consider this an opportunity to advertise your strengths and include details that illustrate skills like technical expertise, ability to communicate across different business functions, and both project and people leadership.  Be sure to take the time to establish and maintain your profile on both general professional sites like LinkedIn, and do the same with industry specific and professional association sites as well.

4-Google  yourself – A few times a year do a web search of  your name to see what information comes up.  Use both Google and Bing as they will have different results, and go several pages deep into the results to review all relevant information.  You may also consider creating a google alert for your name so that if anything new is posted online you will be made aware of it.