Nearly half of UK professionals use social networking sites regularly in a professional capacity and 60% are aware that employers use them to research potential recruits, according to a new survey by Hays, the leading recruiting expert. But interestingly, a large number (48%) of employees questioned are not concerned about the potential implications their presence on social networking sites may have on their careers.

Charles Logan, Director at Hays, comments: “Failing to manage your online footprint is dangerous. The added competition for jobs means that candidates need to pull out all the stops to secure a new position. This requires showing a certain level of professionalism in any presence you may have both offline and online due to the increasing use of technology. In times like these jobseekers should be doing everything they can to ensure they are at an advantage, making sure nothing hinders their chance of securing a role.”

Whilst managing what is said online is a must, candidates should not be put off using networking sites. The research suggests this is far from the case with 37% of respondents saying they have increased their use over the last year. Professionals are also being strategic in their approach to online networking and many are taking advantage of sites linked to career-related groups and forums.

“Our new survey suggests there is a real opportunity for UK professionals to use networking sites to help them get ahead in their career. However, it’s important individuals chose where and who they network with wisely and understand what information is available about them online and who can view this – only then can they manage it effectively” adds Charles Logan.