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5 Reasons Why You Should Cultivate Your Online Presence From a “Personal Branding Guru”

While many employers perform background checks on job seekers before they hire them, there is a growing body of research that says employers will soon conduct searches on a candidate's online presence as a standard practice before hiring him.The Internet has changed the way people communication with one another, how people go about finding information and the amount of information that is available. While many employers perform background checks on job seekers before they hire them, there is a growing body of research that says employers will soon conduct searches on a candidate's online presence as a standard practice before hiring him.

Dan Schawbel, a personal branding expert at Forbes, writes these kinds of searches are becoming more routine as the Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites explode in popularity. Schawbel recommends that job seekers optimize their online presence by developing their own website and linking to appropriate web pages they want their potential employer to see.

Vizibility's SearchMe button is a good website to use for such a purpose because it lets you craft your online presence exactly to your specifications; when an employer enters your name into a search engine like Google, Vizibility's SearchMe function helps you to stand out amongst the other job candidates you're competing against.

Moreover, Schawbel says that using a website like GoDaddy.com enables users to buy a domain using their full name – if it's available – so its search engine optimized and a potential employer sees exactly what you want them to within the top results on Google, Yahoo and Bing.

According to a study conducted by OfficeTeam, over 33 percent of companies polled said they foresee resumes being replaced by profiles on social networks and online presence searches in the near-future. In Fact, Schawbel affirms that within the next decade, resumes will be far less common than they are today and that a person's online presence will essentially become what a resume is today – regardless of the size and type of the company a person is applying to.

There are myriad reasons for the switch toward an online presence search, but there are a few key reasons why the switch will occur, Schawbel asserts. Here are the top five reasons:

1. Social networking use continues to rise while email use falls
Nearly 90 percent of Internet users visit a social networking site every month, according to Comscore; on the other hand, email usage has fallen 8 percent – with the biggest drop coming from people aged 12 to 17 at a 60 percent decline. Schawbel contends that companies are increasingly interested in how a person will fit into the corporate culture, and social networks give a better indication of that than does a standard resume.

2. Traditional job hunting is dead
The U.S. labor market is still suffering from the effects of the recession and people who get jobs nowadays are securing them by being creative and through networking. When job seekers build up their online presence, however, they are putting their best attributes out on the Internet, effectively making it easier for employers to find them. Job seekers who best cultivate an online presence are poised to succeed in an otherwise bleak job market.

3. People are starting to manage their careers like entrepreneurs
Instead of playing by a traditional rule book, job seekers are becoming more savvy as they learn to market themselves much like an entrepreneur would. A "careerpreneur" is a professional who is always searching for the next big opportunity. Scott Gerber, the author of "Never Get a Real Job," says that "you need to create a job to keep a job." With nearly 84 percent of employees reporting that they plan to look for a new job in 2011, there is little job security to be had and those with a powerful online presence are positioning themselves to advance further in their career path.

4. Traditional resumes are virtual and easy to build
LinkedIn – along with many other career websites – offers users the ability to build a resume simply by using their career profiles. As a result of this, users are often actively and passively courted by companies for positions.

5. Job seeker passion is the most important factor in employment decisions
An online presence is meant to illustrate what your true passions are. According to survey conducted by SimplyHired.com, 83 percent of job seekers affirm they would rather have a job that they love than one that pays well; by cultivating your online presence, you can show a potential employer what your strengths and genuine interests are – something they will surely respond to.

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