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Increasing numbers of recruiters and employers are conducting online searches on job candidates. In response, many job seekers are completing their LinkedIn profiles and being a little more careful about what they post online.
But, the truth is that’s not enough because what’s published online can stay there forever. It’s up to you to research your digital footprint and monitor your online presence going forward.
Before you begin your job search, make sure you know what is out there. Pretend you’re a recruiter and conduct your own online search. Try searching on your name and variations of you name.
A search for my name gets different results depending on how I search. Searching “Annette Richmond” on Google gets one set of results, searching “Annette Richmond resume writer” turns up a few different entries.
When taking the role of a recruiter you may be surprised what you find. During a training for resume writers, the presenter spoke about finding photos from a vacation cruise while doing a search on himself. Photos he didn’t want to be seen by his clients.
What will you find that you don’t want potential employers to see?
Once you’ve completed your initial research set up some Google alerts to stay on top of what’s posted online. Setting up alerts is easy and free.
At least once a month do additional searches on your name. If you work primarily online like I do, you might want to conduct a search on your name more often.
Despite the claims, nothing online is ever totally secure. If someone wants to view your Facebook posts they will find a way. That said, the higher your privacy settings the more difficult it will be.
Still, a little self-policing when it comes to posting online will benefit you. Truly atrocious behavior, like racial slurs and illegal drug use, are not the only things that can cost you a job opportunity. Constant whining, like complaining about EVERY restaurant you visit, is frowned on as well.
With the majority of recruiters and employers researching candidates online it’s best to be prepared. Research yourself online before you begin looking for a new opportunity. It’s a good way to prevent unpleasant surprises during the job search process.
This article originally appeared on the career intelligence Resume Writing & Career Services blog.
About Annette Richmond, MA
Annette Richmond, MA, CARW, CCELW, is a Certified Resume Writer, Certified LinkedIn Profile Writer, and former recruiter. Her career advice has been featured by Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Business Insider, Monster, Vault, and WSJ. She helps motivated, senior level professionals tell their unique career story. She also serves as executive editor of career-intelligence.com.