Have you ever taken a moment to Google search your own name? Now’s your time to put your expert social media stalking skills to use. Try it out. You may be surprised by what you find. You may also be surprised to hear that employers hiring prospective employees do this all the time. Your online reputation matters.

The first step to ensuring your online reputation is what you’d like it to be is to do some research on yourself. See what others who aren’t necessarily your “friends” or who “follow you” can see. As a practice to put in place going forward, never post something you wouldn’t want a future employer to see. You may have had a ton of fun at the last college fraternity party, but your future employer may view a post about that as unprofessional. When an employer is hiring, they’re looking for someone to represent the company. So what is acceptable to one employer may be unacceptable to the other. This can easily vary by industry/workplace. Do some research on your ideal industry/workplace and start to make smart decisions about your online reputation (if you haven’t started already).

What if there’s nothing out on the world wide web about you? While there’s nothing out there, it still says something about you. This isn’t necessarily good or bad. (However, it can be bad if your industry is digital marketing/social media.) As a good rule of thumb, employers like to see the more personal aspects of your life and what kind of a person you are to see if you’re a good fit for the company. Social media can be the perfect channel for this.

This article mentions that around 70% of employers are looking up potential employees’ social media/online personas. It’s important to check yourself every once in a while and ask, “How does this represent my personal brand?” as you’re always building a personal brand. Make sure you’re representing yourself with purpose. Employers WILL notice and it could either give you a competitive edge or become the tipping point to choose someone else.