Just as technology enables you to research employers easily, hiring managers can use the Web to learn about you. Thanks to personal websites, blogs and social networks, hiring managers can dig up a wealth of information with just a few mouse clicks.
Here are some tips to help ensure your online image doesn't damage your job prospects:
Do a thorough self-search. The first step in managing your digital footprint is becoming aware of what you are up against. Run searches for information about you that is available for potential employers to see.
Do some damage control. If you find information that you fear will undermine your professional credibility, contact the site's owner or webmaster and ask if the content can be taken down. Also, remove tags from photos of you that you don't want to be associated with.
Accept that you can't get rid of everything. In cases where damaging references appear to be permanent online fixtures, be ready to discuss the topic in a job interview. While your online transgressions might not come up, it helps to be prepared.
Don't be your own worst enemy. Remove questionable content you have posted on your own personal websites. Consider setting your social-networking site profiles to private and blocking comments. If you maintain a website or blog, closely review every piece of information you've presented about yourself.