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Can Your Online Activity Cost You A Job? Article by

Recent trends in the recruiting industry may harm a job hunter's chance for success. New tactics are leaving some college and high school seniors staring at a phone that never rings. Why? Now, when headhunters or employers research new candidates, they don't stop at past employers and references. Instead, they head straight to the Internet

For many years, employers have searched Google to find information on the real individual behind the resumes lying on their desk, weeding out prospects one at a time based on their findings. Employers have also unveiled information about their existing employees in the same manner, leading some employees to the unemployment office. Some items employers don't like to see in public venues include blogs and forum posts with offensive or unprofessional topics.

Now, social networking sites like Friendster, MySpace, Xanga and Facebook, often packed with colloquial language, risqué photographs and user videos, give an even more revealing look into the lives of potential candidates. These sites are filled with comments about sexual behavior, drug use and drinking, common activities for many college students but distressing and unprofessional when exposed to prospective employers. Recruiters can locate individuals on social networking sites by searching their college or education, their email address (including the university email address on their resume) or their name. While not every employer uses the Internet to research candidates, it can make the difference between getting a job and keeping a job or unemployment.

Nevertheless, some recruiters believe social networking can be a semi-legitimate way to build your career - when used responsibly. In fact, MySpace announced its strategic investment in Simply Hired, a privately held job listing search engine, earlier this year.

With Internet trends and advances still new, its impossible to determine what the future holds. But one things remains true: Don't do anything online that you wouldn't do in the boardroom.

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