Just as you wouldn’t act the same way in front of your boss as you would your friends, there are some things you post online that you should make sure are visible only to the people you want to see it. Cleaning up your social media presence when you’re job searching helps ensure that potential employers see you as professional and competent.
One of the first steps in cleaning up your social media presence is to find out what it currently looks like. Searching your name allows you to find out what a potential employer could see, though make sure to do it in a private browser to make sure you’d get the same search results as a potential employer would. This step should help in making sure you don’t have any inactive accounts you may have forgotten about. Deleting old accounts makes sure that any information you available on the internet is relevant.
Once have an idea of what a potential employer might see about you on the internet, it’s time to decide what you want to keep and what you want to make private or get rid of altogether. Obviously it’s better to limit your private information, and make sure any controversial or poor taste posts or photos aren’t available to everyone, but having no media presence at all isn’t necessarily the best route. As long as there’s nothing too questionable it can actually be an advantage by letting potential employers know a more personal side to you, as well as demonstrating that you’re technologically competent.
Different social media sites have different tools you can use to take control of your privacy. Below are tips on managing the most common culprits for oversharing on the internet, Facebook and Twitter:
- In the top right corner of Facebook click on the downwards arrow and click Settings.
- In Settings select Privacy from the left hand column.
- Click on Use Activity Log in order to see your past posts and posts that you’re tagged in.
- On any of your past posts you think might give a bad impression, you can change the audience for it or delete it altogether. Alternatively you can use Limit Past Posts to automatically limit all of your posts so that only Friends can see them.
- For Photos you’ve been tagged in that you don’t want linked to you: go to Activity Log in the bottom right of your cover photo, click Phots and Videos, then Photos and Videos You’re Tagged In and check any photos you want untagged before clicking Report/Remove Tag. For Posts that you’ve been tagged in, go to the Post, click … in the top right and select Remove Tag.
- In the right hand corner, click on your profile image then select Settings and Privacy.
- From the left hand column, click on Privacy and Safety.
- To stop any of your future Tweets from coming back to haunt you, check Protect your Tweets. Your future Tweets will only be shown to your friends; your past posts might still be visible however, so check through your account and delete any contentious Tweets.
- Make sure neither of the boxes under Discoverability are checked if you don’t want people to be able to find your Twitter account through your phone number or email address.
It may be tempting to just quit social media altogether instead of taking the time to check through all of your past posts, but remember, but being active on social media can potentially improve your chances if your social media demonstrates your enthusiasm for your area of expertise or any skills, responsibilities, hobbies etc. that you might have.