Most people are on social media these days, in one form or another. Because of our society’s tendency to overshare, a lot of employers are putting social media policies in place for their staff. However, the time to tidy up your social media footprint isn’t after you’ve gotten a job offer. Do it before you even start applying for jobs. Start with these five simple tasks:
1. Clean Up Your Photos: You may really love that picture of you and your buddies at the bar in Cancun from last summer, but when a hiring manager sees you hoisting a fishbowl-size margarita in the air all over Facebook, it can easily send the wrong message. Replace photos that show questionable behavior, or at the very least, change your privacy settings so only your friends can see them.
2. Clean Up Your Language: You may be very comfortable using four-letter words in casual conversation, but if a potential employer sees a bunch of Tweets that are peppered with objectionable language, it could be off-putting. If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to know you said it, you shouldn’t want a hiring manager to see it.
3. Clean Up Your Contacts: On many social media platforms, people can see which other people you’re connected to. If there are any contacts that could be perceived as unsavory characters, it might be a good time to cull your contacts a little bit. Obviously, there’s not much you can do about family members or close friends, but if you’re following public figures who are controversial, either figure out how to hide those contacts, or drop them for now.
4. Clean Up Your Image: Much like the photos of you waving a giant tequila sunrise, sometimes it’s your words that can present a negative representation of who you really are. Delete or hide any posts in which you trash-talk a former employer or co-worker, use intolerant or discriminatory language against any group, or talk about medical or financial issues.
5. Clean Up Your Access: It’s a good idea to put your social profiles on lockdown so strangers can’t view them. In addition, if you’ve got friends who like to tag you in photos, or post items on your profile for you, uncheck that box. The last thing you want is to clean up your social profiles and then have your job search ruined because someone else thought it would be just hilarious to share a racist or sexist cartoon on your wall.