Social media is a great tool for keeping in touch with friends, making plans, and journaling about your life, but be careful what you post. It may not seem like a big deal now, but when hiring managers search for your Facebook page—and they will—do you really want them to see your late night selfies at your friend’s party?
It’s time to give your social media persona a makeover, and here’s how.
Search for yourself
Search for your name on Google with other descriptors like your home town and your college. What comes up? If you find images of yourself in less than professional situations, find the source and delete the pictures. New rule: Don’t have anything floating around on the web that you wouldn’t show your grandmother.
Find your “voice”
Your online voice represents your personal brand. You want to reflect yourself as an individual, while also maintaining a level of professionalism potential employers will find appealing. Keep your texting lingo for private accounts and private conversations.
Think before you tweet
If you only have 140 characters to offer a thought, it’s easy to be misunderstood—especially when it comes to hot topics in the news. If you are upset, let your emotions simmer and then communicate.
Your life isn’t a soap opera
When we’re feeling down it’s healthy to seek support from people who care about us, but broadcasting your breakup to your 500 Facebook friends isn’t appropriate. You don’t want to be known as the “whiner” to your friends, let alone to a potential employer.
Students who are feeling overwhelmed by classes, responsibilities, and job hunting may not think twice about complaining online. But any business will shy away from a potential employee if they see she is trash-talking her professor or boss online.
Privacy settings aren’t fool-proof
Just because your account is set to private doesn’t mean everything will remain so. What if you’re tagged in a photo and your friend’s account doesn’t have high privacy settings? Be aware of what’s happening with interactions that involve you and take action when necessary.
Keep updating your profiles
Think like an employer, what would they like to see? Make your online accounts current and catchy. For example, list new activities and clubs on LinkedIn.