Graduation has come and gone. If you’re like so many young people today who were unable to secure professional employment in the field of their choice before leaving college, you’re likely still hunting for those ideal job postings, submitting applications, and going on as many interviews as possible.
Resume in order? Check. Networking events attended? Check. Social media accounts cleaned up? Hmm.
If you haven’t done so already, you might want to seriously rethink what you’ve put out into the social media universe as well. This, believe it or not, is a critical part of the job search.
A recent survey conducted by my nonprofit, the 1,000 Dreams Fund, via Toluna Quicksurveys found that half of job seekers polled between the ages of 18 and 25 don’t plan to clean up their social media profiles before applying for jobs. This is a big mistake, especially given that employers say they use social media to screen and possibly eliminate candidates, according to another recent survey.
The bottom line is this: Don’t let some social media goof overpower your stellar application and prevent you from becoming the next promising employee at the company of your dreams!
Here are five tried-and-true tips from other successful grads about cleaning up your social media profile during the all-important job hunt!
1. Google Yourself
Search yourself to see what comes up. Be sure to dig deep and see what each page contains. What you see may surprise you – and it’s the quickest way for you to gauge what employers are seeing.
2. Keep It Private!
Depending on what you find during your Google search, it may be a good idea to make your Facebook profile private so that only those in your network of friends can see all the fun you had in school.
3. Delete, Delete, Delete!
Your employer can access pretty much anything online. If you wouldn’t want them to see a specific post, tweet, or picture, delete it. If you find something on a third-party site you don’t want out there, reach out to the publisher or editor to see if they’ll remove the post. In most cases, they will, especially if you are clear that it could impact your ability to find a job.
4. Keep it PG
Getting ready to post an update, or maybe a pic from that girls’ night out? If it’s something you wouldn’t want your teenage cousin or grandmother to see, you should probably reconsider! At the end of the day, there’s no way to gauge who is looking at your pictures or posts, so you should be sure to avoid posting anything controversial.
5. Leave It to the Pros
Cleaning up your social media presence can be a time-consuming process, so it’s important to know that there are professional “scrubbing” services you can lean on. These services are especially useful when you’re dealing with something that’s hard to remove, because they pride themselves on cleaning up messy digital footprints.
Christie Garton is an award-winning social entrepreneur, author, and creator of the 1,000 Dreams Fund.