You may think your social media posts are a harmless bit of fun. The reality is, your employer looks at them with the utmost seriousness. While you may find that last picture of you horsing around at a party very amusing, it could cost you to lose out on a good job later on. Here’s how to clean up your social media profiles.
Social Media Clean Up 101
1. Keep your private life private.
There’s nothing wrong with having a social media account to document your personal life. The trick is making it employer-proof so a prospective company can’t find you online. You can do this by setting up accounts under a different name and email. Or you can mark the account as private and not searchable by employers. This is highly recommended so that you keep your private life separate from your professional life.
2. Be careful what you post—just in case.
It’s probably advisable to not post anything that you wouldn’t show a coworker or a manager. With more than 70% of employers looking at your social profiles, it makes sense to tone down your posts. Certainly, double-check your privacy settings but also, we recommend caution around your social posts. Overtly political posts or anything derogatory or profane is just not recommended if you’re in the market for a new job.
3. Go beyond your pictures.
Photos of you in ridiculous or unprofessional activities could certainly cause an HR manager to take pause. But also pay attention to what you’ve liked and commented on. Go through and clean up anything that in retrospect is discriminatory or derogatory. If you badgered someone, delete that post. Employers will judge these interactions because they believe it has a bearing on how you will collaborate in a team environment.
4. You don’t have to delete your profiles.
We’re not saying delete your social media entirely. Just clean up anything that seems overly aggressive, hurtful, or judgmental. It’s okay to have a life outside of work. Just be careful and realize that everything you post online has a longer lifespan than you might realize.
5. Deactivate any old accounts.
Dump any old accounts that could be tied to your name. Did you have a social media account in your 20s or as a teen? Chances are what you wrote back then would probably make you cringe now. When was the last time you searched for yourself online? You might be surprised that that old MySpace account is still out there somewhere so an employer could possibly find it. #Embarassing
6. Use your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn should be your conduit to the professional world, so use it well. It is the one social media account that should be public and you should post professional articles, insights, great tools, and more, to promote your professional life.
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