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Everybody's Free (To Google You)

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To the class of 2011, and job hunters alike, one tip for the future - take a moment and Google yourself. In a highly competitive job market, putting your best foot forward includes pulling together your on- and off-line personas into one presentable, professional package. Today's hiring managers and corporate recruiters are ‘net-savvy, relying on LinkedIn, Facebook and video interviews to capture and evaluate candidates before making hiring decisions.

Practice online self-awareness. Use impression management tactics to make a positive first impression online:

  • Know that you have (some) control. Apply privacy settings to any social networking sites that showcase you in your natural habitat. What may be funny to your friends, may turn off a potential employer. Companies don't need to see just how much fun you have every weekend.
  • Strive for quality, not quantity. Make sure your information is up-to-date across job boards and professional profiles. You want to stand out for being employable, not questionable. Inconsistencies can be discerned and are bound to raise eyebrows.
  • Use your IRL network. Have a parent, former boss, career services professional, or friend look over your online image. Ask for suggestions. Solicit recommendations that reinforce your skill set and professional personality.

Keep track of the online you. This is where Google comes in handy. Just because you haven't logged into your MySpace profile in years, doesn't mean it ceased to exist. Update profiles accordingly, collect info and delete yourself from sites you no longer actively use.

Already scored an interview? Dress the part. Seriously.