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The Internet is a powerful tool and there is no doubt to its expansiveness.  Since its birth, we have seen and experienced the ways it has changed our daily lives.  Some may argue that the Internet has made activities easier and convenient, while others feel the exact opposite as they see actions becoming more complicated and lasting.  Whichever side you are on, what remains is that the Internet is affecting traditional ways of doing things, particularly finding and landing a job.
 
The social media phenomena commonly known through websites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest has compelled many people to be very active online.  To add to the mix, blog writing as well as buying and news sites, which allow for comments to be posted, have all created ways for you to put your personal stamp out there in the digital realm.   In addition, search engines such as Google, easily place much of your online activity in accessible form to people who are willing to do some online searching.
 

What It All Means When Job Searching

Enter the social media background check. In today’s job market, there is a big likelihood that hiring managers will turn to social media tools and Google during the process of making their decisions to hire you.  Keep in mind that although they may be impressed with your LinkedIn profile, your Facebook profile may be a whole different story.  The bottom line is that you must be extra vigilant in the image you portray through your comments, pictures, and what you are very passionate about.
 
Remember, social media is designed to bring out another side of your personality that may not always be evident during a formal meeting; therefore, you want to portray yourself in the best light just in case that person who recently interviewed you decided to “Google” you.  Here are some quick tips to get you on the right track:

  • Turn-offs:  sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, profanity:

    It really boils down to common sense, but just in case you had the slightest doubt, pictures and comments that refer to anything from this list will definitely ruin your chance at landing that dream job.  Consequently, the solution is simple:  keep it clean.

  • Use a professional photo: 

    Yes, it is important enough to actually consider going to a photography studio and having some shots of yourself taken.  Make it a point to dress professionally and update the picture every 3-5 years.

  • Consistency with what your resume showcases:

    Besides posting comments that are free of errors and grammatically correct, as your resume should be, matching your professional and educational accomplishments with what’s on your social media sites will offer employers confidence in their impression of you.  Therefore, treat your online presence with the same diligence and importance you give to your resume.

  • Place yourself in an employer’s shoes:

    Think about what compelled this person to look you up online.  It becomes evident that your resume and interview peaked an interest for potential hire; however, now he/she wants reassurance that the inklings that were gathered about you are in fact the correct ones.  Here is where social media can bring out evidence for mutual people and organizational connections, professional experience and examples of previous work, and a better determination for office cultural fit.

 
In sum, your online presence matters a great deal and because visitors to your sites will produce subjective views of you, it is best to keep every detail professional and positive. Always manage your online activity with the thought that a recruiter could be perusing on your page, because when you’re applying for jobs in 2016, a social media background check is almost standard procedure.
 
If you have any misgivings about past postings, it is worth the time to do some housekeeping to your social media.  The last outcome you want is to be snubbed for the job due to your Facebook profile.  Finally, do not rely solely on the privacy settings offered on the various online outlets, because these tend to change without notice and sometimes prove ineffective.
 
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