On the one hand, the Internet is a wonderful place to get your name out as a highly qualified job candidate. On the other hand, there may be information floating around about you you'd rather was not shared with everyone in the world. How can you determine what's out there in cyberspace?
Googling your own name is a popular technique for digging up digital dirt. You will certainly find some information this way, but if you have a common name, you'll find information on many other people as well. One way to find information specifically about yourself is to run a search on Pipl.com. This website allows you to enter your location and finds information particular to you. It often turns up things Googling yourself does not-such as public profiles you may have on sites like Amazon or on old social networking sites you no longer use.
All Internet exposure is not bad-getting traffic to your LinkedIn, Twitter, blog, and professional Facebook accounts can all generate interest in your job search. However, hiring managers searching your background don't necessarily need to see your personal wish list on Amazon or the pictures you posted out on Classmates.com after your high school reunion. Many sites share this type of information in public searches without their users being aware, so it's a good idea to check your privacy settings in as many places as you can. Running a Pipl.com search can help remind you about places where you may have uploaded information years ago and then forgotten about.
The Internet allows job seekers to build an online brand for free. When used to your advantage, a consistent online image sets you apart as an outstanding human resource. Just make sure the information you provide on the Web is as flattering as possible, and everything out there about you screams, I'm the best-hire me! Creating a consistent online brand is an important element of any job search. From LinkedIn profiles to Web resumes and social networking, we have you covered.