Social Media Cleanup for future employment

Jessica Pellegrino – General Assignment Reporter

You have perfected your resume. Your business cards are finally the perfect eggshell/gold foil combination. You are ready for the job search, and frankly, who wouldn’t hire you? You have covered all your bases.

Unfortunately, the quality of your resume and the precision of your business card fade away when your future employers find your Facebook account and creep down to your “Spring Break 2012” photo album.

Most people think it is a myth that future employers check social media, but alas, it is true. Social media is one of the most accessible ways that an employer can find information about you as a potential employee. All it takes is a click of a few buttons from an future employer to get a “picture” of your past.

The first step you can take to clean up your social media presence is to Google yourself. If you have a common name, try adding an identifier to the search, like “Jessica Pellegrino CT” or “Jessica Pellegrino New Haven.” See what comes up when you search yourself. If you are lucky, all that will show up is a link for your Facebook, and some hometown newspaper article about your honor roll status in fifth grade.

But occasionally, either in the search or in the images page, something not so nice comes up. While you don’t have much control over things that are public record (like police blotters or lawsuit pages), you can follow links to pictures to see their source and have them disabled.

Another common page to pop up when you Google yourself are individual tweets from your Twitter account. If in the tweets you complaining about a past job, or really complaining at all, delete them.

Your next step is to lock down all of your accounts. Add privacy settings to every account your name is affiliated with. And by “add privacy settings,” I mean choose the absolute highest level of protection possible, to ensure no one can get in.

The three top viewed social media profiles by employing are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. So, once you have done the spring cleaning to those profiles, think about how you can take it one step forward. Now that your profile is not incriminating to employers, how can you make it appealing to employers?

LinkedIn is probably the easiest platform to do this. Make your LinkedIn profile shine by taking an afternoon to polish and plump it up. You should add ALL you can to your LinkedIn profile. Highlight any internships, job experience and service work you have done. Try to beef up your references section as well to make you look particularly qualified.

As far as Facebook, since you have your privacy settings on overdrive and you have cleaned up bad photos, all you can do is make sure that your profile picture is a professional looking shot, remnant of a headshot, rather than a photo of you kissing your Sunday brunch cocktail.

Once you have taken these steps you can breathe a breath of fresh air, because you are officially employable!

Photo Credit: mkhmarketing

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