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It is no secret that prospective employers and recruiters are using social media to identify and investigate employment candidates, utilizing Facebook, LinkedIn, and a myriad of online venues, such as blogs, Twitter, YouTube, and Craigslist, BEFORE they peruse candidate resumes and cover letters.

Clearly, trending indicates that hiring authorities are opting to implement social media “research.”

Think about it, wouldn’t you? Why lose precious time and money in weeding through hundreds — sometimes thousands — of resumes and cover letters when you can first check out employment candidates and form opinions about them by viewing their online presence?

If hiring authorities see what they like online, they are then taking the next logical step of reviewing your resume and cover letter. With the help of Applicant Tracking Software (ATS), this is a simple process of entering a few buzz words into a popular software program and extracting your resume and cover letter.

What does this mean to you? Well, let’s put it into context, by asking a few questions and supplying some logical answers:

Did you get drunk last night and boast about it on Facebook? If the answer is “yes,” chances are you’ve just lost that hiring authority’s interest in you.

Did you complain online about your current boss? Yes? Well, you’ve nixed that job prospect.

Did you curse your way through an online message to your buddy? Bye, bye position you were interested in.

Did you voice your political savvy by badmouthing the “other” political party? So, it’s been nice NOT getting to know you.

In short, the “old days” are the “bygone days.” As a person old enough to remember when a job posting yielded a manageable number of resumes and cover letters, I know that today’s recruiters and prospective employers are inundated — even overwhelmed — with the number of responses they receive in regard to a single, solitary posting.

Hiring authorities are smart to reduce the time involved in finding the ideal candidate by implementing a process of elimination. They first search the Internet to learn what they DON’T like about you before taking the time to learn what they DO like about you.

So what’s an employment candidate do? Seven simple words: build and manage your online presence CAREFULLY.

First, realize that your online presence is critical to your goal of finding a job. Second, consider your choice of online words. Third, treat every online activity as a job maker, a job breaker . . . or an interview for a position as candlestick maker. Fourth, get your resume and cover letter into tip-top shape so that interview can be had.

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