According to ExecuNet, over one-third of employers have eliminated a candidate because of "digital dirt"—information about you online that is either unflattering or inconsistent with the image you would like to portray.

Digital dirt could be preventing you from getting interviews and ultimately landing your ideal job. So if you have digital dirt, it's time to clean up your act. Here's the three-step process:

1. Google yourself

According to a Business Week study, only one-third of people surveyed ever actually egosurfed (conducted an Internet search on themselves). If you are seeking a job now, you need to know what's out there. So, google yourself in the format "firstname lastname," with the quotation marks.

Remember to google different versions of your name. For example, if your name is Steven Robinson, you will want to google "Steve Robinson and "Steven Robinson." Look at the results on the first three pages and ask yourself whether there is anything that could work against you in your job search. Is there information that dilutes your message? Make note of the items you feel are muddying up your professional image.

"Until you're aware of everything that's connected to your name online, it's impossible to try to overcome any potential employer objections," according to Dave Opton, ExecuNet CEO and founder.

2. Vacuum it up

The best way to eliminate the dirt is to Hoover it up. Of course, to do this, you have to have control over the content. If your dirt includes writing, photos, and other content that you posted on your own site, blog, or social-networking web site, you can remove it or change it to ensure that it communicates your value as a candidate.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of William Arruda

William Arruda is a personal branding pioneer, the founder and CEO of Reach Personal Branding, and the author of Ditch. Dare. Do! 3D Personal Branding for Executives.

Twitter: @williamarruda

LinkedIn: William Arruda