The importance of Google, social media, and your online presence to your job search process.

It is no secret that Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram have redefined how we communicate, keep in touch, and network. More telling, these online avenues have created a platform where the tags, tweets, posts, connections, captions, and photos have the ability to define our online personas. With almost every prospective employer searching the word wide web for any and all traces of their prospective employees, your online presence has never been more important. Photos and posts are just one more way employers can screen your character and personality.

How Your Online Presence can HURT your Job Search

When your potential employer enters your name into any generic search engine or social media site, what will they find? The Internet has a life of its own, once something is out there, it cannot be easily taken back. However, you can work to minimize and modify your online image by identifying what’s out there. Be sure any messages your have posted in the past have some semblance of professionalism. If you find a particularly unsavory vestige of your past, reset your privacy settings to limit past post exposure.

If you do an image/photo/Instagram search of yourself, what do you see? They say a photo is worth a one thousand words; be sure your online profile says something positive about you. Photos can encompass great memories, but not all of those memories must be shared. Consider what you put up for the world to see, and kindly ask others to do the same.

Be particularly wary of inappropriate, unprofessional and provocative content. Similarly, posts and photos related to alcohol and drug use is an obvious red flag. Another subtle turnoff, is poor communication skills. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation still matter, even in 140 characters.

Take a look in the Mirror

Job applicants take time and care to prepare for an interview, physical image included. The suit, shoes, hair, tie, or makeup; it all fits into the job applicant interview package. Take the same time and care to groom your online image, so that you can be sure you’ve put your best virtual foot forward.