Is Your Digital Footprint Clean?

If you’re like most IT professionals, the Internet has become one of your primary sources for job leads and information about prospective employers. But as you search the online world for employment, keep in mind that hiring managers also may be using the Web to gather information about you. In fact, a growing number of employers are searching the Internet for details about potential hires.

As a result, it’s important to monitor and maintain your professional reputation online. The current economic environment has made hiring managers increasingly cautious, and any information that raises a red flag can take candidates out of consideration for a job.

Conduct your own search. Your first step should be to determine what information about you exists online. Even if you don’t have a personal Web site, you might be surprised by what you find. That’s because message-board comments, blog postings and social networking profiles can come up in a search. The easiest way to see what you are up against is simply to type your name into several popular search engines. If you have a common name, refine your search by adding your middle initial, hometown, alma mater or former employer, or try putting your name in quotation marks.

Take corrective action. If you discover an item that you wouldn’t want hiring managers to see — such as a harsh critique of a past boss posted to an online bulletin board — ask the person who posted the information or the Web site administrator…


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