A recent survey confirmed that at least 70% of companies said that they have made a decision NOT to hire a job applicant based on something they found on social media sites or Google. On the other side of the coin, a higher percentage of employees are losing their jobs, based on their social media posts.

It could be based on comments you’ve made about previous jobs. It could be a picture of you pouring a beer over your head. It could be the songs or video links you share. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that it’s important to monitor your online personality — especially when applying for a job. Here are some tips from the pros to help you make sure you portray the best impression.

  • Clean up your social media pages: Since Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have higher Internet search results, these are the ones to start with. Remove complaints about your job. Your boss. Confidential, inside information about your company. Incriminating pictures. You may want to also remove videos or links to songs that may be offensive. Look at your entire site as if you were looking through the eyes of an employer.
  • Create an online reputation:  On the other side of the coin, if you can’t be found on any of the search engines, potential employers may question whether you are keeping up with “trends,” especially if the job requires research on the web. Start with a blog. Post your professional profile on LinkedIn. These two are the easiest and quickest ways to get found on the Internet.
  • Hire someone to help you:  If you’ve tried to clean up your reputation and it’s not working, consider hiring someone to help you. There are several online companies that specialize in getting rid of negative comments, or burying the information so deep on the web that it would take a genius to find it.

Oh, and if you get a new job, don’t post it online until you’ve actually left your old job and started your new one. Employers have been known to fire people, or escort them out the door, or not pay bonuses or vacation pay—just for bragging!