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May 4 , 2010

Egosurfing or wise career move? Survey shows most professionals have searched themselves online

Four out of five say they have entered their name in one or more search engines to see what results were displayed

Although some may dub it "egosurfing," others might call it a wise career move to conduct a web search to see what information about you is available online. After all, what is visible to you also is visible to potential employers. In a recent survey, four out of five (81 per cent) workers interviewed said they have entered their name in one or more search engines to see what results were displayed.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with 341 workers 18 years of age or older and employed full or part time in an office environment.

Workers were asked, "Have you ever conducted a search on your own name using a search engine?" Their responses:

Yes............................... 81%

No................................ 19%

"The abundance of information available online has resulted in the need for increased vigilance when managing one's digital footprint, and this is especially true for job seekers," said Kathryn Bolt, president of Accountemps' Canadian operations. "Employers are increasingly performing web searches to source information about an applicant's interests, experience and professional involvement."

Bolt noted, "Job seekers should strive to project a professional image by paying careful attention to what they share online, including photos, status updates and blog commentary."

Accountemps offers the following five tips for making your online footprint work for you:

1. Know what's out there. Set alerts using Google or other tracking services to receive a notification each time something new is said about you, and delete any content that could be seen as unprofessional or controversial. If you find unflattering material you cannot remove, be prepared to explain if a hiring manager asks about it.

2. Take advantage of privacy settings. If you belong to social networking sites or have a personal blog, adjust your privacy settings so you control who has access.

3. Contribute to the conversation. As appropriate, comment on articles of interest to you and your field, and consider writing columns for industry organizations.

4. Exercise discretion. Be aware that whatever you post may be seen by potential employers, and give careful consideration to how statements you make may be interpreted. While you want to show you have a well- informed opinion, keep your comments constructive, and avoid disparaging others.

5. Keep your profiles current. Make sure your professional profiles on sites such as Google and LinkedIn are up-to-date and highlight your experience.

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