“I Can’t Believe I Said That”
Many of us have grown up in a world where online identity is as much a part of adulthood as our real-life connections. If you have been active on social media, you should consider the implications.
While federal laws prohibit discriminating against a prospective employee based on information on social networking sites, you should expect that potential employers are likely to lurk on your social media. Just to be on the safe side, you should sanitize your social.
- Deactivate or delete all unused accounts. If you don’t remember, Google your commonly used usernames, your name, and the city you live in or cities you have lived in. That should turn up most of them. There are services that will help you unearth old accounts, but if it takes a lot of effort, chances are potential hiring managers will not find them.
- Make accounts you use “Private.” Just specify under your settings that only “friends” can see your activity.
- Delete or hide posts or photos that could be misinterpreted or considered inappropriate.
- Update your social media presence. Especially for LinkedIn, be sure your profile photo is updated. Make sure most recent jobs, volunteer activities, and honors are reflected. Make sure your online bios are current. If you have not penned a professional bio, do so.
There’s a saying that once something is on the internet, it’s there forever. To an extent, that’s true, but you’re not a politician or celebrity, so the odds of a potential employer taking a deep dive into your social are low. Just in case, ask yourself if there is anything on social media you would regret having a potential employer see and, if so, how you would explain it. Be honest, brief, and move on.
There are many ways to create positive impressions using social media. Repost interesting articles, follow thought leaders in your industry, and post photos of honors or extended training opportunities you’ve been a part of. In the near future, we’ll be releasing a blog that discusses ways to proactively use your social media accounts as part of your career advancement strategy, so keep an eye out for that content as well!
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