How Your Online Reputation Can Kill Your Job Search

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With the national unemployment rate hovering around 7.6 percent, applicants find competition is fierce for each new job opening. Recruiters and HR departments are bombarded with online applications, eliminating applicants for some of the most specific criteria.

Online reputation is one of those criteria. As employers struggle to find the perfect fit, many of them are now heading to Google to learn as much as possible about each candidate. Those searches, experts advise, could take potential employers to an applicant’s social media sites, forum posts, and personal blog.

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Before beginning your job search, it’s important to do an online reputation review (and cleanup where necessary). Here are a few places to start.

Google search

If a hiring manager wants to find information about a candidate, Google is likely the first place he or she will start. Do a search of your name and view the results as a potential employer would. Are you representing yourself in a professional, mature, responsible light? As you’re searching, check out other major search engines as well, such as Bing or Yahoo. Try also searching from various Web browsers, such as Safari, Chrome or Firefox.

If any negative search results appear, do your best to remove them. If you’re unable to remove them, a professional online reputation management firm can help.

Social media sites

Facebook and Twitter are the obvious choices, but don’t forget about other social media sites as well. Search for yourself on sites like YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest and any other popular social media site. You may not have profiles on all of these sites, but your name can still be mentioned by friends in descriptions of videos or posted photos.

Forum posts

Think back over the past few years to any forums or message boards on which you might have posted. A seemingly harmless post four years ago about an annoying boss or wild party you attended the night before could come back to haunt you today.

Blog posts

Don’t assume potential employers won’t somehow stumble upon your blog. Even posts made years ago could be accessed by someone looking for information on you. Remove any blog posts that don’t paint you in the best light or delete your blog entirely if it’s no longer serving a purpose.

One of the best ways to boost your chances with recruiters is by creating a positive online reputation. This includes filling out a LinkedIn profile and creating online bios that showcase your accomplishments. LinkedIn has various ways to include information that supplements a résumé. By being proactive with your online reputation, you can increase your chances of getting that call for the interview that will get you hired.

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