Time to Clean Up Your Social Media

Job seekers should follow these steps to improve their online presence

If you are in the job market and actively sending out resumes, it may be time to think about your social media presence. If you have accounts with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and a host of other social media apps, there might be digital content out there that you might not want a potential employer to see.

How can you improve your social media profile? Here are some easy tips for cleaning up your online reputation so that possible employers see only what you want them to see.

1. Check all privacy settings and filters on Facebook
Of all the social media options, Facebook is a very common one for employers to search when researching potential hires. Start by using the Privacy Shortcuts tab to review your privacy settings. You can choose to keep the whole page private if you want. Or you can select filters to make some things public and other things private. Once you choose what pages to make public, you want to make sure your public pages are positive and professional, in case an employer views them.

2. Play it safe
Privacy settings can help you keep your profile private, but they are never 100%. Employers could discover embarrassing content in other ways, such as through your friends posting things publicly. Take time to go through your entire Facebook history to delete anything you wouldn’t want an employer to see.

  • Delete inappropriate photos
  • Ask your friends to remove embarrassing photos of you
  • Delete posts and “likes” if they are controversial, bigoted, religious, insensitive, immature, or vulgar. It’s better not to give employers material for which they might judge you.
  • Don’t spend too much time playing games on Facebook. It makes you look like you’ve got nothing better to do.
  • Unfriend your friends if they are posting controversial material.

3. Instagram, Tumblr, Foursquare, Snapchat, Twitter
Social media sites like Twitter and Instagram are very public sites where many people see what you post. It’s easy to share and re-share material, so your posts can take on a life of their own. So be careful what you post! Go through your account and delete old posts and re-posts that could be embarrassing or controversial.

  • Remove all compromising pictures
  • If you shared or re-tweeted anything inappropriate, delete it from your account
  • Creating a fun username is okay, but keep it respectable
  • Fake usernames can help you stay more anonymous, but don’t count on them to keep everything private. It’s better to remove inappropriate material.
  • Ask your friends not to post embarrassing pictures of you, and explain that you are looking for a job

4. YouTube and Blogs
Are you someone who likes to post videos on YouTube? Do you write a regular blog? If you have posted anything you wouldn’t want an employer to see, take it down. Posting things privately or using an anonymous username can help, but all in all, it’s probably safer to remove anything questionable.

5. LinkedIn
LinkedIn is not like other social media. LinkedIn is meant to be a professional networking site where you can post a professional career-related profile. LinkedIn is the site where you want an employer to look you up! And when they do, you want to be sure you’ve created a strong profile. Try these tips for creating an all-star LinkedIn profile.

We hope these tips help you clean up your online presence. It may take a little time, but it will be worth it. And don’t forget, you can still have fun and enjoy using your social media. Simply being a little more cautious about what you post will help you create an online reputation that you can be proud of.__

The Harris School of Business provides career development advice through its weekly blog. With campuses in Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, we offer career training for medical assistants, massage therapists, dental assistants, and more. To learn more about our career-focused programs, contact us online.