Is Your Social Media Sabotaging Your Job Search?

Clean up your online act to improve your online presence

We have all heard the stories about someone who has lost their job because of a compromising picture or post on social media. If you are searching for a job, how can you be sure that a potential employer won’t find something incriminating about you? What can you do to clean up your social media?

Here are some tips for improving your online presence. Taking the time to follow these steps will be worth the effort. Cleaning up your social media presence can help you start your career search on the right foot.

1. Google yourself
The first step is to Google your name, since this is probably what most employers will do. If something inappropriate comes up that you control (such as your Facebook page or an Instagram photo), you will be able to remove it. If it is something that someone else has posted of you, you may need to ask them to remove it. Google offers some advice and tools on managing your online reputation.

2. Look at your privacy settings and filters
Social media sites like Facebook have privacy settings and filters to help you control who can see your material. Even if you think you have everything set correctly, it never hurts to double check it. Facebook occasionally makes changes, so it’s a good idea to re-check your privacy settings and filters when you begin your job search.

3. When in doubt, throw it out
Even if you have all of your privacy settings updated, it is still safer to remove questionable content. You never know who might re-post a compromising photo. If you have any content that could disqualify you from a job, it’s safer to remove it. Here are some things you might want to consider:

  • Remove inappropriate pictures and videos.
  • Talk to your friends about your job search, and ask them to take down any compromising photos of you.
  • Delete posts and “likes” about controversial things, such as off-color jokes, political comments, insensitive remarks, or anything vulgar or immature.
  • Don’t spend too much time playing online games where your progress is posted. If an employer can see this, they may think you spend too much time gaming.
  • Unfriend people who post inappropriate material.

4. Instagram, Tumblr, Foursquare, Snapchat, Twitter
Instagram, Twitter, and other similar sites are meant to be public. There’s no need to take them down when you are searching for a job. But you should spend some time cleaning them up. Here are some tips:

  • Remove embarrassing pictures.
  • Delete any tweets or posts that are inappropriate or controversial.
  • Funny usernames are okay, but keep them respectable.
  • Ask your friends not to post inappropriate images of you on their accounts.

5. YouTube and Blogs
When you are cleaning up your online presence, don’t forget about YouTube. Do you have videos posted on YouTube that you wouldn’t want an employer to see? If so, it’s time to take them down. If you are a regular blogger, you may also want to check your blog posts and delete any that could paint you in a bad light for a potential employer.

6. LinkedIn
LinkedIn is different from other social media. It is intended as a career networking site and a place to market yourself. LinkedIn is the site where you would like your potential employer to find out more about you. It’s a place to let your career highlights do the talking for you. If you haven’t already created a LinkedIn profile, follow these tips for creating an all-star LinkedIn profile. You want to be sure your LinkedIn profile is professional and up-to-date at all times.

We hope this advice on cleaning up your online presence is helpful to you as you begin your job search. Remember, you can still have fun and enjoy your social media, but just try to keep it clean. It will be worth it in the long run!

The Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health provides job search advice and other career-related information in its weekly blog. Visit us online to learn about becoming a nursing assistant, practical nurse, or a patient care technician at Salter Nursing.

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