At a time when jobs are hard to come by, a few wrong moves can stop you dead in your job-hunting tracks. It's easier than ever to dig up information on social media that might embarrass or disqualify a job candidate.
While social media has become a great tool for job seekers, these platforms have also stopped many from making it past the first round of the job application process.
Some college career centers are now offering tips and tools to help students put their best digital footprint forward. At Villanova University, 2003 Conrad Weiser alum Kevin Grubb created and teaches a one-credit course on managing online identities.
"We cover everything from how to set your privacy settings, to making sure the things you don't want everyone to see are protected as much as they can be, all the way to what you can do on LinkedIn, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Pinterest, on Google Plus, to make sure you have a strong brand," he explained.
Not every employer checks the virtual lives of applicants, but a recent study by CareerBuilder found 37% of hiring managers check the social networking sites of prospective employees.
"It really does matter what you're saying on here, and you really want to be mindful of 'how do I want to be found and seen by other people' since folks are using these to do searches," shared Grubb.
What you post online can help or hurt your chances of landing the job.
"They are looking to see who you are online," added Grubb. "If you're a fit for the company, if you seem to be a culture match."
He says everyone should aim to build a professional digital reputation and know their presence on social media sites.
One easy way to check your online rep is to Google your name and see what you find.
Grubb says social networking online is like a 24/7 networking event and you shouldn't be afraid to use that to your advantage. Just make sure you read the privacy settings.
"I've seen countless people get a leg up or get a great connection to a job or internship because of social media, so I think it's a very powerful resource," he said.
Employers can find you using social media, but it can also be a way you land an interview.