Social media and the web has become a major part of life, so everyone has an online personal reputation whether they know it or not. With so many social media platforms, applications and information sharing sites it is hard to keep track of who you’ve connected with, who’s following you, who’s talking about you and who you’ve befriended.

You probably have connected with mates from school, sporting clubs, past colleagues (and more worryingly, current colleagues,) people you met travelling, a guy you met on Saturday night, business contacts, industry contacts….and the list goes on and on. There needs to be a point where you make a strategic decision about who you do and don’t accept into your social network. Let’s face it; your boss doesn’t need to know you’re “doing nothing at work today cause I was out partying till 5am this morning!”

You need to rethink what you’re posting online as nothing is private these days. People have lost their jobs and even been arrested because of things they’ve posted online, so one small mistake can cause you a lot of trouble.

In recent Cyber Safety Research conducted by Telstra, it was reported that more than a quarter of Australian bosses are now using social networking sites to screen job candidates, with almost half of these employers admitting to turning away prospects based on something they’ve seen on Facebook or Twitter.

Managing your personal reputation and building a professional brand is necessary in this competitive job market, as it allows you to differentiate and position yourself from the competition. Job seekers need to have a professional online presence that can be easily found by companies and recruiters, which creates a positive first impression of you as a top quality candidate that they would want to represent their organisation.

Social media checks are slowly becoming part of the formal recruitment process so make sure you are aware of your brand, and manage it before you (or someone else) sabotage your chances of scoring that dream job. Below is an awesome infographic by kbsd that sums up an e-reputation, why it matters, what recruiters look for and tips for improving yours.

Think before you post!