If you have ever succumbed to the temptation of Googling yourself, you might have been surprised at the results, particularly if you have a relatively uncommon name. Unless you have no online presence at all — that means no social-networking accounts, no personal blog and not contributing to any forums or websites under your own name — any potential recruiter could find you and learn more about you than you may think. Several horror stories have hit the headlines where people’s careers have been damaged by their online profile. But you can use the internet to your advantage and your online activity could even help you to secure your next role.

Social networking might have been the downfall of many a job hunter, but joining a business networking site can really boost your prospects. You can connect with old colleagues, reach out to people you have met in your professional capacity and make connections which might yield useful contacts or even a job offer down the line. If you have applied for a job and been interviewed by a recruiter, linking to them online will help to keep you in their mind and they might even find out something about your skills and experience which would otherwise have gone unnoticed. Completing your profile can give you more scope to include past experience, interests and goals which may not be covered in a short interview or be included on your CV.

Similarly, if you work in a specialised field there may be an online networking site where fellow industry professionals go to make connections. These are sometimes hosted by the body which issues qualifications but can also just be a virtual ‘meeting place’ for those who share an interest in their field. There might be forums where you can contact people and share knowledge, help with a specific problem or just chat about the latest developments in your industry. Contributing to sites such as this is a way of demonstrating your expertise in practice and could see you making a connection with your next employer, especially when they are looking for local talent. Whilst the internet is an international forum, for a recruitment agency Essex might be their ideal catchment area for a candidate and local applicants will benefit from their location.

If your line of work doesn’t have a forum of its own, then there are plenty of general sites where you can put your online presence to work and hope to be found by a suitable recruiter. Job-hunting sites often offer the option to host CVs, so try uploading yours and specifying the kind of job you are looking for. Many recruiters looking to fill a position quickly, or hoping to find someone with a specific skill set or range of experience, will browse the CVs available and contact likely candidates to narrow down the field of applications without wasting too much time on fruitless interviews. Because they can search by location, they can find someone local to them. So a recruitment agency Essex based, for example, can filter for those candidates who fit their requirements.