5 Ways to Clean up Your Online Profiles During a Job Search

Let’s face it, the job market has seen better days. Landing a decent job (or any job, for that matter) is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole — it feels nearly impossible and it’s incredibly frustrating. For those lucky candidates who actually land an interview with a potential employer, it’s vital not to screw it up. One way to improve your chances of landing the job is by cleaning up your social media profiles so that the hiring representative doesn’t come across anything that would make him or her question your candidacy. Here are five ways to protect your online profiles during a job search.

1. Delete! Delete! Delete! Sign on to all of your social profiles and erase (or hide) the incriminating evidence … every last bit of it. This includes any compromising pictures, inappropriate comments (even if you think they’re hilarious), and any foul language. Employers understand that you’re a human being, but they don’t want to see the juicy details of every drunken night out plastered on your page. Use your best judgment and filter your content, especially your bios, because those are usually visible to everyone, even if you make your account private.

2. Top secret. Make everything PRIVATE! The safest way to protect your online self is to make all of your profiles, pictures, comments, and tags private. Nowadays, every social site allows for its users to make all (or a great majority) of their profiles private. There is usually a feature available for you to view your profile as a “stranger” or as someone who doesn’t have access to your page, so it’s easy to see what a potential employer is and isn’t able to view.

3. Restricted. Create a Facebook “Restricted list” for people you don’t want seeing your posts. This is a great feature for anyone who has already added or is in the predicament of accepting a colleague’s friend request on Facebook. Here is what Facebook explains about Restricted lists:

When you add someone to your Restricted list, they’ll only be able to see your Public content or posts that you tag them in. So if you put your boss on your Restricted list, post a photo and choose Friends as the audience, you boss (and anyone else on Restricted) won’t see that photo. However, if you add a tag of your boss to the photo, we’ll let them know they’re in it and they’ll be able to see the photo. If someone else tries to tag your boss in one of your photos, you’ll get to approve this tag from your pending posts.

Mashable published a great article, How (and Why) to Create a ‘Restricted’ List on Facebook, that walks you through each step.

4. The “click” of death. Don’t add or accept a friend request from your boss on your social networks, unless you are 300 percent sure there is absolutely nothing on your profiles that would compromise your chances of getting hired and/or staying hired. In the case of Twitter, it’s a good idea to follow the company that you’re interviewing with to keep up-to-date with anything important happening with the employer.

5. Grow up. If you are old enough to interview for a job, then you’re probably old enough to know that trying to look cool online is a thing of the past.

So, now that you’ve got your foot in the door at your dream job, heed the five tips listed above so that you don’t accidentally get caught with your foot in your mouth and ruin your chances.

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