Clean Up Your Social Media for Future Employers
While conducting your job search, it is imperative to set yourself up for success. Just as you want to know all that you can about your potential new employers, they are also eager to learn about who you are. One way for them to find out more about you is your public social media accounts.
A 2018 survey done by CareerBuilder, showed that 70% of employers screen job candidates through their social media, while 43% of employers use social media to check out current employees. I collaborated with Norton & LifeLock to compile some tips and tricks on where to look, what to change, and how to improve your professional social media presence.
Start with Google
Googling yourself is important as it will most likely be the first thing employers do once they know your full name, gender and age. If you think you have a private identity online, think again. As you scroll through page one of Google, see what social media accounts appear under your name and what other information is listed underneath.
For example, if your Twitter name is @jerrylovesbeer that will show up next to Twitter. If your Facebook page is public your profile will also show up on page one as well as Instagram and so on. We recommend changing your usernames if they are anything other than your name. While being fun and funny is okay, it is important to ensure that you are being painted in a good light.
Scrub Your Social Media
While scanning through your social media, be on the hunt for content that might be related to drugs, alcohol, politics, religion, or anything disrespectful or degrading. Employers will be looking for how you interact with others, how you portray yourself, and what kinds of things are a main focus in your life. If your Instagram is public, go through your pictures and captions to make sure nothing is offensive, risqué, or inappropriate. Delete anything you wouldn’t want them, or your grandmother, to see.
Be sure to review your LinkedIn posts, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, and Instagram photos.
If you want to keep your pictures but make them hidden from the public, Instagram has an archive feature that allows you to do just that. Make sure to screen comments as well. If your friends are writing swear words or telling stories about you in the comments, it may be important to shut those down, since they can be seen by other people.
Update Yourself Online
When you start the job search, it is essential that your online personal information matches what your future employer knows about you. Of course, not everything has to be disclosed, but the basic information should always be the same.
Update your LinkedIn profile accordingly to make sure your page mirrors your résumé without any alarming questions. Keep your primary e–mail public and always have an appropriate profile photo. If you use other social media accounts as job hunting tools, take the time to curate your profile to accurately represent you and what you are looking for in the professional world.
In summary, the same CareerBuilder survey referenced above also found that 54% of employers found content on social media that caused them not to hire a candidate. With the number of employers and recruiters actively using social media as a tool to screen candidates increasing, it’s important to educate everyone conducting job searches today—from college students just entering the job force to executives changing jobs or careers—about the importance of protecting and cleaning up their digital presence.