It is important now, more than ever, for job seekers to watch what they do online to minimize harm to their personal brand.
Companies are now using social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to screen potential employees and research job candidates.
An article in the Oregon Business Report revealed that45 percent of employers surveyed in 2009 said they use social networking sites to research job candidates, an increase from 22 percent in 2008.
The article reported the top three reasons employers disregarded candidates after screening their social networking sites are provocative or inappropriate photographs/information, content about drinking or drug use, and candidates bad-mouthing their previous employer.
Here’s five ways to clean up your social networking sites before beginning a job search.
1. Remove digital dirt. This includes any photos, content and links that can work against you in an employer’s eyes.
2. Consider creating your own professional group on sites like Facebook to establish relationships with recruiters and potential referrals.
3. Keep arguments offline and keep the content positive. Highlight specific accomplishments inside and outside of work.
4. Remember that others can see your friends, so be selective about whom you accept. Monitor comments made by others. Consider blocking negative or profane comments and setting your profile so only designated friends can view it.
5. Do not mention your job search if you are still employed.