Even 10 years ago, social media was still a burgeoning development. Teenagers and techies had embraced it, but having an online profile was nowhere near as mainstream as it has become today.
Now, you can expect that most people you meet have some sort of online presence. Unfortunately, what you can’t always expect is that they all use that online presence responsibly.
The problem? Plenty of companies now look into your social media habits before extending a job offer. Which means how you represent yourself online matters. I’m not just talking about avoiding inappropriate photos or status updates about excessive partying. Really, anything from aggressive political rants to horrendous online grammar could, potentially, keep you from landing the job of your dreams. If a hiring manager decides to look you up online, everything you have posted there could serve to shape their opinion of who you are as a person and how you might interact within their corporate culture.
So if you’re on the verge of looking for a new career, it’s high time you clean your social media presence up.
- Hide: The first line of defense is ensuring your privacy settings are as locked down as possible. Most social media accounts automatically default to public settings, meaning that anyone who looks at your profile can view everything you have ever posted. Instead, you want your online presence to be linked only to your closest friends. Visit the settings tab on each of your pages and tighten up your privacy. Keep your online life visible only to those friends you would happily invite over to dinner.
- Delete: Even with the strictest of privacy settings, there is often still plenty of information for hiring managers to glean from your online accounts. And you never know how one inappropriate post from over a year ago could come back to bite you. So spend some time perusing your profiles and deleting anything that seems ill advised to have posted online in retrospect.
- Plan Ahead: Keep in mind, plenty of people have had to deal with the ramifications of photos and status updates resurfacing even years down the line. Anything you ever post has the potential to come back to bite you. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how much effort you put into hiding and deleting – hiring managers will still manage to get their hands on something you wouldn’t ever want them to see. Which is why preventative maintenance is key. Starting now, think long and hard about everything you post online. What seems funny today, could be life altering tomorrow.