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Deb Neuman Deb Neuman
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Clean up your 'house' if you want that job!

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It was about this time back in the '80s when I began really stressing about finding a job after college. I put together my first resume and mailed it out to prospective employers hoping to be asked for an interview. If I landed an interview and did well, they would begin the process of checking references and vetting me for the job. How times have changed! Today employers are checking you out before they even invite you in for the interview. Many interviews never happen because of what employers learn about you with you ever knowing it. Behold the age of the internet! Thankfully, like bad 'Tony' perms in the '80s (yes, I had one), the days of mailing out resumes as our primary means for finding a job are over.

This is both good news and bad news for job seekers, whether you're about to seek out your first job after graduation or you're looking for a new job. Here are ways to use the internet to gain an advantage in your job search.

Clean up your on-line house

You may have a personal Facebook profile for fun and a LinkedIn profile for professional stuff. Guess what? You are you regardless of where and what you post, and you're making an impression that can greatly impact your ability to get a job. Employers will look at your Facebook posts, wall and photos and draw a conclusion about you and whether or not they want to even interview and hire you. Be very careful about what you post, what you say and the photos others post of you. You can adjust your settings in Facebook to approve all tagged photos of yourself before they appear on your wall. This allows you to control what others post do it!

Google yourself

It might tickle a little bit, but it's a great habit to get into. Employers will Google you and you want to see what they're finding. Remove anything potentially incriminating if you can. If you can't, be prepared to explain it in an interview. If there is incriminating information that comes up in a Google search of your name and it's not you, let your prospective employer know!

Polish up your LinkedIn profile

I've heard from many people that LinkedIn has opened up employment doors for them. One friend in the marketing business told me he has had numerous companies and head hunters contact him as a result of his LinkedIn profile. Spend time making sure it's up to date and ask others for recommendations to strengthen your profile.

Do research

The internet is a great way to research a company you are interested in working for especially before you go in for an interview. If you show up knowing nothing about the company or with no questions prepared to ask about them, you will not likely be asked back. There is no excuse for not doing your homework online.

The internet can do a lot to help or hurt your job search. But some good, old-fashioned '80s-style job search techniques still work. Do put together a solid resume on paper and in a format that can be mailed and emailed. Do get out there and network. Most jobs are filled by people who familiar to the employer. For example, volunteering is a great way to give back to your community, to develop transferable skills for the workplace and to meet people who know people who are hiring. In this day of many of our friends appearing as small boxes on our computer screens, personal relationships and contacts are still the best way to go especially when it comes to finding a job! Get out there and network, tell people you're job hunting - and yes, clean up your online house to insure all that networking you're doing to land that job isn't done in vain!


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