Clean up your digital dirt. How many times have workers and job hunters been told that? How often can we still find a trail of embarrassing party pictures and rude or politically insensitive comments posted on people's Facebook pages? Social media, as everyone knows, makes the personal public.
You may not be able to monitor or control everything that creates your online image, but you should try.
Job recruiters Google your name. They look for you on Facebook. They check out your LinkedIn profile and read what others say about you. They research Internet user groups and join discussions.
I'm repeatedly surprised by job hunters who bristle at this "intrusion" into their lives. They just don't get it.
The truth is that there's relatively little privacy in cyberspace.
Surely it's no longer news that workers have been fired for posting photos or comments that don't fit with employers' ideas of what their employees should be.
And is anyone really surprised that job applicants have been jettisoned as candidates because of image killers as simple as having stupid e-mail addresses?
Sadly, my inbox still gets mail from job hunters with addresses like "luvbabe." Why do you think they don't get responses from hirers?
There are many savvy, well-informed job hunters who are doing everything right. They don't deserve criticism for a faulty Internet technique.
But for those workers and wannabe workers who haven't been paying attention, let me emphasize this:
Employer surveys repeatedly say that talent is hard to find and good jobs are going unfilled. There is a job market mismatch between available jobs and the skills or experience of many applicants.
Workers need to do everything in their power to present a polished, professional image online. That won't land them a job or job security, but it will help keep them in the mix for consideration.
Management guru Tom Peters warned years ago that we each are "the brand called you." What message does your online brand send?