Looking for a job? Want to keep a job? Then improve your social media persona. As it turns out, no matter how professional you may come across on your LinkedIn page, employers are getting the real dirt on you by checking out your profile on Facebook.

According to research by Harris Interactive, that was commissioned by CareerBuilder.com and surveyed 2,667 HR professionals, found that 45% of them use social networking sites to research job candidates, with an additional 11% planning to implement social media screening in the very near future.

Of those who conduct online searches/background checks of job candidates, 29% use Facebook, 26% use LinkedIn and 21% use MySpace. One in 10 (11%) search blogs, while 7% follow candidates on Twitter.

Clean Up Your Act

The study showed that “thirty-five percent of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire the candidate.” Whether it be drunkenness, nakedness, or other displays of debauchery, employers are not likely to offer you a job and in some cases may dismiss you for such behavior after the fact.

Is this really surprising? Well, the line between personal and professional is definitely blurred. Yet, social media or not, common sense is always a good gauge. Either figure out the privacy settings so no one but your trusted confidants can see your wild night in Vegas or don't post them to begin with. After all, your mother is on Facebook now, as well as your employer.

Market Yourself

Hopefully this study won't cause users to retreat into hibernation. The lesson learned is that there's more to social media than flaunting your debauchery (no, really). Though 35% percent of employers may not hire you, the survey also found that, “eighteen percent of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them to hire the candidate. 

Employers are finally catching on to what we already do. Before accepting a job with a company, making a purchase or deciding where to eat, we judge their website, search Google, and browse reviews on Yelp. It works both ways now and companies can't afford not to make sure their social media selves are just as employable as you are.