Social networking is an everyday activity for many of us. It offers a way to stay in touch with loved ones, a recreational escape, and even employment opportunities. More people are turning to social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn to supplement their job hunting efforts. However, these same sites are being used by employers for job recruitment purposes, creating a double-edged sword of sorts for those who use them for both business and pleasure.
Whether you use this channel to find employment or not, understand that your social media presence could impact your ability to land a job. The updates you post and the photos you share might have a positive or negative impact on how you're viewed by recruiters and companies, whom you may need to connect with directly. If you want to improve your chances of landing a gig, it would behoove you to give your social media profiles a good cleansing. Here's how you do it.
Privatize Future Updates
Never bothered to set your social media profiles to private? Well now is the perfect time to take care of that. Visit Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and all your other social spots to make sure your accounts are protected by the latest privacy settings. Ideally, you want to ensure that your future updates can only be viewed by friends, followers, connections, etc. These settings are always changing, so revisit them from time to time to make sure you have a level of privacy that makes you comfortable. This simple measure will give your profiles that nice, squeaky clean glare on the surface.
Clean Up Old Posts
Now that you're trying to clean up your image and land a job, posting pictures from the wild night at the bar on Facebook seems like a pretty silly idea. While there's no hitting the rewind button, there are some ways to rectify such mistakes. The one option you have is to go back and delete all those questionable posts from your profiles. With Facebook, at least, you can also dig into your privacy settings and make all your past posts private so they're only accessible to friends. Either method will do in order to make sure your past doesn't come back to haunt you.
Delete Old Social Profiles
Remember your first foray into social networking back in 2006? Boy, those sure were the days. Still have an account on an old school social network like MySpace or Bebo? If so, and they're inactive, the best thing you can do is pull the plug and delete them for good. The awkwardly angled selfies and radical blog posts were cool back in the day, but could actually hurt your image if job recruiters happen to run across them. Besides, having an active social media presence looks much better on your part if only for the fact that your profiles are represented by more up to date photos.
Tidy Up Your Spot
You can rest a bit easier once your social profiles are set to private. However, there are still things that can be done to tidy up. The first thing recruiters will see when scanning those accounts is your profile photo. You want to make a good first impression, right? Then make sure that photo is appropriate, presentable, and of decent enough quality to leave one. Have a website or blog? If so, then it would behoove you to do some cleansing there as well. Go through your existing website pages or blog posts to clean up any stuff bearing colorful language or content that may hinder your image.
Once you've got everything cleaned up, you're going to want to be cautious about what you post in future social updates. Sometimes you get emotional. Sad. Angry. It's normal, but these raw emotions don't always have to be displayed across your social media channels. Perhaps they shouldn't come out if you're connected to recruiters or people who may be willing to recommend you to a certain company. If anything, you want to post the type of content that might have them viewing you in a positive light. Stuff they are compelled to pass along to someone else.
We live in an age where the online and offline worlds can and do collide. Right or wrong, people will form opinions based on what your web activity and history reveals. These people could be future co-workers or employers so recognize the importance of having a good reputation management strategy.
Francis Santos is the Marketing Manager for Benchmark Email. He graduated from Cal State Long Beach and holds a degree in Journalism. In addition, he is also the executive editor for separate popular news blogs. Follow him on Twitter: @emailfrancis