By Peter Vogt, Monster Senior Contributing Writer
Some employers are searching the Internet to see if they can catch a glimpse of you beyond your sterling resume or fabulous interview performance. If the two pictures don't match, that internship or job you've been pursuing -- or are already in -- could potentially vanish. To wit:
If stories like these have a faraway, it-happened-to-my-sister's-best-friend's-cousin feel to them -- the kind of vibe that makes you skeptical -- you're not alone, according to Jill Wesley, a former Purdue University career counselor who recently became director of career services distance education at Indiana Business College.
"Although some employers are checking profiles, it takes a lot of time and is dull work," Wesley says. Moreover, "there are also some legal gray areas, and I don't think any employer wants to be the test case for them."
Still, Wesley stresses, it's critical for you to remember that with few exceptions, whatever you put on the Internet is public -- and very often available indefinitely. So you need to make sure your online presence is working for you, not against you. Here's how.
The Job Seeker Self-Audit
Wesley and former Purdue colleague Kimberly Shea created a "Personal Internet Presence Job Seeker Self-Audit." It's a handy checklist you can use to see how you might be perceived in your online pursuits. Among the steps it suggests you take:
When you're done, your overall online presence should pass the "would you be comfortable if your grandmother saw this?" test, says Wesley.
Grandma may never really look you up online, but an employer certainly might. What will he discover about you?