Before you even submit a new job application, you may want to carefully retrace your virtual footsteps. The number of bosses who scope people out on social networks before hiring has doubled in the past two years, according to a new study just released by CareerBuilder.

The study found 22 percent of all managers admit to digging for job candidates’ profiles on various networks as part of their screening processes. Another 9 percent say they intend to start. In 2006, only 11 percent had even thought about it.

The numbers get worse, though: A full third of the screeners say something they saw on the Web caused them to decide against making the hire. The most common issues uncovered include:

  • “Inappropriate” photos or other content
  • A demonstration of general poor communication skills
  • A public bad-mouthing of a company or co-worker
  • Online postings about drinking or using drugs
  • An unprofessional alias or screen name

Inappropriate content? Public bad-mouthing? Postings about drugs? An unprofessional alias?!

Crap. Gotta go. You never saw this. I wasn’t here.

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