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Superpower your online profile

Stephanie Taylor Christensen writes about personal finance, small business, and consumer issues. She is the founder of Om for Mom Prenatal Yoga and Toning in Columbus, OH and Wellness On Less, a site dedicated to prioritized living and c...

Put your best virtual foot forward

One in five recruiters has rejected a candidate because of something they saw online.What does your online profile tell employers about you?

Put your best virtual foot forward

In a recent survey conducted by RecruitIreland, almost half of recruiters surveyed indicated that they check out applicants online during the hiring process. Further, one in five has rejected a candidate because of something the candidates' online presence revealed.

The presence of social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can be great tools when one is job-seeking, or simply aiming to build a professional network. Not only can you explore a potential interviewer's background and expertise, you can "cast a wider net" by using your friends' connections to get closer to decision-makers. However, online and social media is something of a two-way mirror; you never know who is behind the proverbial glass. Here are four ways to ensure that you are always showing the best sides of your online self.

Put your best virtual foot forwardKeep Your Information Up to Date

You may not actively use all the social networking tools you have accounts for, but that doesn't mean your information isn't accessible. Take a few minutes to update your employer history on popular sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, particularly if you're job searching. Too many discrepancies in your information may lead the recruiter to question which aspects of your resume are valid and which are "overstated."

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Put your best virtual foot forwardGet Active in Your Community

When a recruiter searches for information about you, they may search popular social media tools --or they might just "Google" you and see what comes up. Google presents a great opportunity to position yourself as a thought-leader in your industry. Comment often on credible professional or business-oriented blogs and sites with clear, thoughtful, well-presented ideas. (Watch those typos!) When it is published, the comment will be temporarily indexed high in association with your name. Ultimately, your comment will likely be among the top search results the recruiter sees. Seize the opportunity to show your stuff! Your online image will communicate to the recruiter that you are not only sharp, but well-versed on the latest happenings in your industry.

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Put your best virtual foot forwardMake Connections

While relationship-building is and always will be a critical part of business, social networking has put the fast-forward on making connections. Business networks that once took years to build can happen almost instantly, thanks to your peers and the "stepping stones" their online groups provide. Keep your networks active and robust. Recruiters will see that you are well-connected and respected, given that people are willing to essentially "endorse" you by association.

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Put your best virtual foot forwardClose the Loop

While 93 percent of social networkers use Facebook, just 73 percent keep their accounts private. Ensure privacy settings are activated on your account-- and those of your friends. If they tag you in an image and their setting is open, that recruiter may see a side of you better kept private!

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