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Checklist: Clean Up Your Web Trail

The World Wide Web turns 18 years old this August. In that time, it has amassed billions of pages of information from millions of Web sites — many of which probably mention your name, your business and your associations.

Whether you’re an avid user of social networks or an online novice, chances are good that information about you occupies some corner of the Web. It is standard practice for recruiters and employers to use that Web trail to build a history and profile of potential candidates. Whether you’re just beginning your job search or you’re many months in, it’s smart branding to ensure your online presence tells your story as you would wish it told.

Checklist: Clean Up Your Web TrailOnce you decide to take the plunge and create a great profile that reflects your personal brand, the real value is in the connections that you make. So how do you determine with whom to connect, and what’s the etiquette for doing so? If you are more comfortable with a conservative approach to getting started, then heed these tips for connecting with others on LinkedIn and Facebook:

1. Avoid importing your address book.
Avoid the options that easily allow you to import your entire email address book and invite every one of your contacts. On LinkedIn: Send invitations to colleagues that you know, trust and would be comfortable referring to other members of your network (especially given referrals are the main value of LinkedIn).

On Facebook: Begin by connecting with your real friends and family. Since Facebook is more personal and your friends have an impact on your Facebook profile (they can write on your “wall,” tag you in photos and send you virtual commodities, etc.), try it out before connecting with professional colleagues.

2. Customize your requests.
When you send an invitation to connect, customize the form email unless the recipient will immediately know why you want to connect with her.

3. Be selective.
Decide from whom you’ll accept invitations and create standard responses for declining an invitation. If you get a request from someone you don’t know at all and they do not even bother to customize the message, then it’s perfectly acceptable to use the Ignore button.

In the modern job search, the littlest of things can make a HUGE impact. There are tons of little things that go into making a successful online job search and the more you know the better prepared you can be when you see the ideal job posting.
Today, there are consulting services and career coaches with whom you can expect to spend thousands of dollars for advice; literally, thousands of dollars for career consulting, career coaching, interview coaching, resume consulting, personal brand coaching and much, much more.

But what about the rest of us, who are unable to spend the exorbitant sums needed for these types of services? What if I (the modern job seeker) have questions about my job search, my resume, and my upcoming interview?
The answer is

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