iStock_000024086772LargeNothing is ever certain in the job search, and there are exceptions to nearly every rule—but there’s one thing we can pretty much promise you: If you’re searching for work, applying for jobs and sending out resumes, you will get Googled by potential employers.

And why wouldn’t you? Your employers are getting flooded with resumes, and they need an easy way to separate the great applicants from the mediocre ones—and the mediocres from the red flags. What better way to do that—what better tool to use—than Google?

Building Something On The Web

Now, you may think you know where we’re going with this: Don’t post drunken Spring Break photos on Instagram. Don’t say anything racist or sexist or overly political on Facebook. Make sure you’re not retweeting anything offensive. Clean up your act.

That’s all good advice: You’re going to get Googled and your social media profiles are going to show up, so either make them private or just, y’know, behave.

But only cleaning up the negative stuff isn’t necessarily enough. If you want to be a winning candidate—not a red flag and not mediocre—then you have to use the Web proactively, actually building a name for yourself and creating some positive assets for employers to stumble upon.

Establishing Yourself As A Leader

Basically, you need to create an online presence that sells you—showcasing your professional involvement, your leadership, and your passion for your work.

If you work in a field related to design, art, or even writing, this can be fairly easy: Build an online profile, update it often, and make sure it has your full resume name and e-mail address attached to it so that potential employers can easily find it.

Not everyone works in a field that lends itself to portfolios, though—but there are still things you can do to create a strong online presence.

  • Start a blog, sharing news, commentaries, and perspectives on your industry and your work. Just make sure to keep things positive and professional—and to check your spelling before you post!
  • Instead of making your social media profiles private, keep them public, and use them to share articles or commentaries that interest you on a professional level.
  • Make use of LinkedIn Pulse, sharing your own reflections or insights as they relate to your work.
  • Also ensure that you use social media to highlight professionally-relevant books that you read, courses you take, seminars you attend, and so on.

Remember: The goal is to prove that you are passionate about what you do—and, that you know what you’re talking about. That’s something that a potential employer will like to see.