Your social media accounts are an extension of who you are. Therefore, the content you post on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other platforms could have serious repercussions on your professional life. Here are some important steps to take to clean up your online presence before conducting a job search:
- Make a List of Your Accounts. The first step is to make a list of all your accounts. This includes accounts such as Facebooks, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Reddit. If you have accounts that you do not use regularly, delete them to reduce the risks of identity theft and hacks.
- Google yourself. Google is where most recruiters and hiring officers start if they want to find out what you’re about. Go through the search results and see if there’s anything you’d prefer an employer not find. This will give you a good idea of what needs to be changed and removed.
- Update your profile pictures. Update your profile pictures with a current, professional-looking image. Use the same one on all your social media accounts to cultivate personal brand recognition. Research shows that a proper profile photo presents you as competent, influential, and appealing to hiring managers.
- Make personal accounts “Private."
- Facebook—Navigate to the top right-hand corner of your profile and click the question mark symbol. Then, go to “Privacy Check-Up.” This will allow you to indicate who you want to be able to see your future posts, manage any connected apps (and delete any that aren’t necessary), and decide who can see what's on your personal profile.
- Instagram—Go to “Edit Your Profile,” and choose “Posts Are Private” to hide your profile from peering eyes. Also, make sure to look through your tagged photos. If you are tagged in some not-so-pleasant photos by users who aren't private, you risk an employer finding them. Luckily, you can remove yourself from the post by clicking the three dots in the top right corner of the post, selecting “Post Options,” and choosing between “Remove Me from Post” or “Hide from My Profile.”
- Twitter—Go to “Settings” and then “Security and Privacy,” and click “Protect My Tweets.” Your tweets will only go to followers now, and anyone wishing to follow you must get permission. Also, disabling the discoverability option will prevent anyone that has your email address or phone number from searching and finding your Twitter account.
No matter how strong your resume is, if an employer finds your online presence inappropriate or offensive, you could be jeopardizing your chances of getting an interview.
Remember: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. But what happens on the internet can live FOREVER.