When searching for a job, it’s very common for employers to look at your online profile nowadays. This information isn’t just used to “rule out” candidates — finding a broad online presence can also improve your chances of getting the job by increasing your “know, like, and trust” factor. What a company finds about you online should reassure them about your qualifications and suitability as a prospective employee… not raise red flags.

But it’s the negative information that can hurt your chances of getting the job. A recent survey found that 80+% of hiring managers in the U.S. researched candidates online before making a hiring decision. Another survey found that 70% of recruiters and hiring managers eliminated candidates after they found negative information about them from online sites like Facebook. More and more companies are reviewing the Facebook profiles of job applicants, either as a first step in the screening process (to narrow down the pool of applicants), or before inviting a candidate to an interview.

Prospective employers will make judgments about you based on what they find out about you online. You want to come across as committed, competent, skilled, and of strong character and integrity. You can manage the impression others have about you through your online presence. However, it is important that your online professional image is also authentic and credible.

It is also important to note that if you aren’t managing your personal brand online, it’s still being formed (but without your input). Your online identity is determined not only by what you post, but also by what others post about you – whether a mention in a blog post, a photo tag, or a reply to a public status update. When someone searches for your name on a search engine like Google, the results that appear are a combination of information you’ve posted and information published by others. You can be the author of your online identity by taking a strategic, proactive approach to managing your online presence.

What is online about you is more important than ever.