Is your online presence killing your job prospects?


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graduates from calculatorIf you want to get a job–or keep one–listen up. Ninety-two percent of US companies screen potential employees through social media, and according to a survey we just did of over five hundred 2013 graduates, most people aren’t doing much to clean up their web presences.

Your online privacy IQ could be standing in the way of your dream job, but luckily it’s an easy thing to fix with a little effort. We built an online calculator quiz to give you a grade based on how hireable you are. Just answer 7 questions and you’ll get a grade from A+ to F, along with 5 tips to help you clean up your web presence and make yourself searchproof.  

Click below to try out the calculator:

hireability calculator page 1

What are some of the fatal errors people commit online? According to our survey of 2013 grads:

  • While 90 percent of survey respondents claim to be careful about what they put online, 35 percent have posted comments containing profanity, more than 30 percent have posted comments or pictures about alcohol and seven percent have posted content about illegal behavior.
  • Graduates in Midwestern states were more likely to post inappropriate content online than graduates from anywhere else in the country.
  • More than two-thirds only Google themselves once per year or less, leaving them unaware of how they appear to hiring managers during the application process, even though more than one-fourth of survey respondents have found a search result about themselves that they wish they could delete.
  • Nearly half (49 percent) have not adjusted their Facebook settings to approve photo tags or posts, potentially allowing others to post inappropriate content to their profiles.
  • 84 percent have never created positive content, like a professional website, to improve their online search results. In fact, a majority (52 percent) do not have LinkedIn accounts, despite 73 percent saying that the networking site was important to a person’s job search, and only 38 percent of LinkedIn users use their real names on the site.

    grade of C

    Does your online presence make the grade?

We spoke with Keith Cline, a recruiting expert at Dissero in Boston, about the importance of a person’s online presence in the job search. “Many graduates, and older workers as well, overestimate the role of the resume and underestimate the role of online research or networking in the job search process,” he said. “The reality is that your online presence plays an increasingly large role in whether you are considered for a job, and candidates who don’t take that seriously may jeopardize their job searches.”

Other research supports his view. Eighty-six percent of HR professionals said that a positive online reputation favorably influenced a candidate’s application, and seventy 70 percent of employers have hired through social media. On the other hand, 70 percent of human resources professionals have rejected potential candidates because they found something negative about them online, according to a Microsoft study. A CareerBuilder survey found that the following percentages of employers have rejected employees based on seeing:

  • inappropriate photos & comments (49%)
  • Content of drinking & drugs (49%)
  • Negative comments about previous employers (33%)
  • Poor communication skills (28%)

Now’s the time to take action and put your best foot forward, both online and off, especially if you’re a new grad entering the job search. Get started by taking the hireability calculator and following these 5 easy tips.

social media talk bubble

If you’re trying to get a job, make sure you know what the web is saying about you.

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