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More Employers Digging Up Digital Dirt

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According job search and recruiting network ExecuNet, only a third of on-the-market executives surveyed have bothered to conduct a vanity search for their name on the major search engines. The ones who haven’t should reconsider, as 77 percent of recruiters are digging up “digital dirt” on them.

As social networking websites, weblogs, and online forums become increasingly prolific, recruiters and hiring managers are using Google and Yahoo! as an recommendation mill.

Based upon their artificial first impression, 35 percent of those that use search engines for background research have eliminated job seekers based on their findings. This figure is up from 26 percent a year ago.

“As the amount of personal information available online grows, first impressions are being formed long before the interview process begins,” said Dave Opton ExecuNet CEO and Founder. “Given the implications and the shelf life of Internet content, managing your online image is something everyone should address – regardless of whether or not you’re in a job search.”

In a separate survey, the 82 percent of executives surveyed said they expected to be googled by prospective employers and recruiters, but only 33 percent had actually ever googled themselves to see what information about their personal and professional lives is online.

“Conducting searches for your own name is something that should been done on a regular basis,” said Opton. “Until you’re aware of everything that’s connected to your name online, it’s impossible to try to overcome any potential employer objections.”

The same survey found that 16 percent of those surveyed worried that information about them online could disqualify them from employment consideration. Just 13 percent had taken proactive steps to increase the positive information found through search to improve their online image.

ExecuNet offered these tips for maintaining your online persona:

Use caution. Avoid posting negative comments on blogs, social networking profiles, and online forums. Anything connected to your name online can be viewed as a reflection of your character and integrity.

Search yourself. Enter your own name into multiple search engines on a monthly basis to stay informed on what personal and professional information exists online.

Be proactive. Seek advice when attempting to counter or explain “digital dirt.”

Be honest. If the academic qualifications, company information, and titles on your resume don’t match with what’s found online – potential employers will be quick to move on.

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