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Maintaining a squeaky clean online presence is just as important as having professional resumes, cover letters, and business portfolios. No matter what you THINK you’re hiding, employers can find you. It’s important to know where they’re most likely going to search for you.

Social media

Privacy settings are not foolproof although they can limit viewable content on your profile. Unless you block others from seeing your profile altogether, there’s always a chance that they’ll see something that is associated with you. Being tagged in photos or commenting on someone else’s profile decreases your privacy level tremendously. Oh, and don’t forget about screenshots. Once it’s out there, the Internet owns it. You are your brand. Protect it by all means.

Email addresses and phone numbers

Even if you’ve used an alias as your profile name, you’ve probably used an email address or phone number to create your account. A quick reverse search can uncover any profiles you have linked with that contact information. Perform a quick Internet search for your phone number or email address and see what you find. Anything questionable should be deleted ASAP. Have one email address dedicated to your job search that is not associated with any other accounts.

LinkedIn updates

If your privacy settings aren’t carefully controlled, one profile update and the system will send an announcement to your entire network. To prevent alerting your boss or coworkers that you’re back on the market, turn off your activity broadcasts in the privacy menu. While it is recommended that you keep your profile public so you appear in more employer searches, you may also consider making your page private until you’ve made all of your updates.

Resume databases

If your company has access to resume databases, they could easily find your resume in their searches. Most resume databases list when you made your last update. Several job search sites allow you to make your information confidential but if you really want to be discreet about your search, avoid saving a resume to the database completely. Simply upload your resume when you apply for each job. This way, only employers to see your information will be those who have jobs in which you’ve submitted your resume.

Sure, it may require a few extra steps and precautions during your job search, but it’s better than getting caught because your boss decided to go 007 and spy on you.

Ashley Watkins, of Write Step Resumes, LLC, helps job seekers and career changers find the career of their dreams by creating the perfect resume, providing interview preparation and career coaching. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or via


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