The way we use social media in our everyday life is changing. Remember when Facebook was only open to college students with valid college email addresses? Now everyone and their grandma is on social media. Even major companies are jumping onto Facebook. Many companies grew tremendously in the past few years, and whole departments are popping up just to manage their social media. Employers are not only using social media to reach potential customers, but they are also using it to see potential job candidates.
Social media can be a double-edged sword. It can create a powerful personal brand that can propel your career forward, or it can be the red light for a company to high you if you don’t carefully curate what they see.
Some people prefer not to brand themselves and keep their social media private. And that’s perfectly ok! Remember even if you only allow friends to see your posts or friends of friends you never know who on your friend’s list could have a connection to a potential employer. Here are some general ways to keep your stuff private or acceptable for getting hired.
Go Private if You Don’t Want to Overhaul Your Social Media
If you don’t want employers to find you at all you have options. While this isn’t always the best approach because employers might be looking for people with a social presence, this is one thing you can do so potential employers don’t see you online. Almost every platform including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow you to make your profile private and you can even control who can search for you. On Facebook, you can make it so that only friends of friends can find your profile and request friend access. The most important thing is keeping posts private to only friends that you want to see them.
What can you do to clean up your social media?
Delete or Archive Old Posts
On Instagram, you can archive old posts so that they don’t show in your feed any longer but you don’t lose them. If there are things you know you shouldn’t be posting (such as your shot-ski challenge at Killington), then delete those posts or remove them from view. You can make photos on Facebook private and on Twitter it’s best to delete just delete the old inappropriate tweets.
Treat Open Accounts Like a Personal Brand
It’s ok the keep your social media open to the public while job searching but if you decide to do that, there are just a few things to consider and tidy up before you begin applying. If you want to brand yourself, then you should treat it as so. Imagine yourself as a public figure and post and share things that support and grow your character and career. Industry specific news, work your doing, awards and accomplishment, and volunteer work are all great places to start. Think like a Hollywood publicist (just not Kim K’s).
Only Keep and Post What is Acceptable for Employers to See
You can save your memories, whether they are professionally appropriate or not, onto your computer and take them down from social media after. Your bar nights and funny explicit posts might have been ok in college, but now they won’t help you get a job. If your potential employer sees them, it could make them think you’re too much of a party animal to do the job.
Even if you don’t spend your time “branding yourself” on social media, think to yourself if you would personally share every post via a text message to your future boss or your grandma. If you wouldn’t, take it down.
Update Your Bios
Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook all have space for a quick bio or summary. This is very similar to the space LinkedIn gives you to summarize why you’re an all-star! Use this space to tell people about your career, aspirations, accomplishments, and goals. This is a great place to showcase your employee worthiness and curate something that will stand out if an employer checks out your profile. A motivating or funny quote is nice but doesn’t let this prime piece of personal real estate go to waste if you want to give a quick synopsis of why you’d make a perfect addition to any work team.
Keep You Social Media Secure
You can take all the precautions that you want, but if someone hacks your social media, it could hurt your image. Keep unique passwords for each platform. Although it can be a pain, you want to put in plenty of numbers, symbols, and random capitals, so it’s near impossible to guess. And of course, don’t keep a log of it in your phone notes under “passwords.”
What can you do to shine on each platform?
There are a few awesome privacy settings that Facebook offers its users that really help you control what people see and what people can post about you. Use the tool inside the privacy settings to download your Facebook profile. This will allow you to see everything Facebook is showing for your name all in one place. You’ll be able to quickly see if there is information you no longer and should not have one there. For example, putting your private phone number or even old tags to photos or video you don’t want to be associated with anymore.
Unlink Apps and Logins
When signing up for new programs, subscription, services, and websites you might see the option to log in with your Facebook account or just create a new account. While it’s convenient to use the Facebook login you are giving the app access to your information for them to use. Most likely they aren’t going to do anything harmful with your information, but you don’t want to take chances with allowing access to a variety of sites onto your personal social media.
Limit Who Can Post on Your Wall
In your settings, there is a timeline and tagging section where you can make it so that if someone tags you on a post or photo, you have to approve it before it lands on your wall or allows your name to be tagged. You can also turn off face recognition, so you don’t have to worry about it suggesting you be tagged as well. There are a lot of options to secure who can see what you’re tagged in, what gets posted to your account, and who can see things you post. Take your time to go through each option and make it, so you get to monitor what goes up.
Use Pinned Posts to Show Off
The pinned post is a great way to keep the attention on Twitter where you want it. If you have an exceptional tweet about something you did, you can pin it to the top of your feed. This makes sure that what you want to be seen is the first thing anyone will see on your profile. This is great for drawing attention where you want it and making sure it’s seen.
Delete Old Comments
If you’ve ever gotten into tweet war with someone on twitter (it’s a blue and gold dress GINA, YOU FREAK), then it’s time to bury the hatchet and delete the tweets. It’s so easy to scan everything you’ve ever tweeted in just a few minutes of digging, so it’s best to delete these comments and put the arguments to rest.
Archive Irrelevant Posts
When building a personal brand, you can keep some things that represent you as a person as long as they are positive and something you would not be upset to share with future employers. If you’re trying to tailor it down, you can just archive some old post so you can see them but they are not open to the public.
Check Up On Your Hashtags
Go through old posts and check hashtags you used to promote the post. While #bustybetty and #mooningmorris might have been hilarious to your friends, they aren’t exactly the type of hashtags you want to be linked with.
Don’t Forget Tagged Photos
The section where people tag you in photos is there for everyone to see. Even if you don’t check them very often, watch for ones that pop up, so you know what’s being posted of you.
Watch Who You Follow
Not all of us have guilty addictions [@babeswithbigbootys *ahem*] but if you follow some risque or raunchy humor pages consider that employers can see who you follow. Not everyone will go to these lengths to check up on you, but you would be surprised at how many will. Remember becoming a part of a team reflects on the company you work for, so it’s no wonder with how fast memes and news spread that employers are looking to cover all their bases.
Job searching is competitive so giving yourself the edge by having a primed social media presence can give you an advantage over other people. If used right, social media can help you land your dream job and not hurt your image to the companies looking to hire. If you have already cleaned up all of your social media, then it’s time to look into having an awesome Linkedin profile to round out the home run of social presence when job hunting.
Originally published at www.studentloandiet.com on August 17, 2018.