In my last job, I interviewed a recent college graduate who was interested in an entry level role in sales and marketing. Understanding and using social media was important for the role, but not necessary.
This person, let’s call him John, happened to provide his Twitter handle on his resume, so naturally I checked it out before our meeting.
The thing was — John’s Twitter feed was really just an ode to marijuana.
His twitter wallpaper was pot leaves. His photo was a picture of him enjoying his favorite plant. The fact that this was the image he wanted to put forward to the world was a HUGE red flag.
As a college student or recent grad on the job hunt, it’s time to get your online brand under control. Before you set up informational interviews, send out your resume, and connect with people that can help you — always assume you will get Googled. Because you will, without a doubt. Be in control of what shows up first.
Below are top tips to make sure your social media presence is ironclad and only shows your best self. #sorryJohn
According to Onwardsearch.com, 91% of employers use social media to screen potential employees. While you could just cut your losses and shut down all of your social media profiles while you job hunt, employers may get suspicious – especially if you’re applying for a role in marketing.
Here’s the thing — employers aren’t trying to catch you. They’re trying to see who you are as a person. You should keep your social profiles, but ensure that they put your best foot forward. Make them like you!
Protect your privacy on Facebook.
Make sure that you only share sensitive information with specific friends or groups. You can control who sees each post by clicking on the drop-down “share with” menu. You can even make handy lists of people to show or block from posts.
Screen your profiles for red flags.
Use Reppler.com to see what others can see. Reppler.com is a free service that helps users to manage their online image across multiple social networks. If you have a low score, follow our instructions to get it up!
Edit your updates.
If you have been addicted to Facebook since junior high, chances are you have way too many posts to go through. Instead, change your settings to limit old posts showing up on your timeline. You will still look relevant and social media savvy, but you can hide all of those Taylor Swift song lyrics you posted during your last breakup.
You can still display your collection of selfies but make them unsearchable by untagging yourself. Simply click the photo in which you have been tagged. Hit options in the bottom screen and select “untag.”
Protect yourself from the people you love.
While you may be smart enough to not post an embarrassing picture of yourself — your friends (our great aunt who just discovered social media) may not think twice. To avoid incriminating photos of you going live, give yourself the ability to review posts your friends tag you in before they show up on your timeline. Here’s how to enable Timeline Review.
The easiest one of all.
Start posting great content. Share articles with thoughtful commentary. Avoid rants and check for typos. Skip sloppy bar photos and tag photos of you and your friends on a hike, out to dinner, baking pies, whatever it is that feels right and authentic to you. Or go cold turkey. If there is no escaping your life on Facebook simply deactivate. According to Facebook, you can deactivate and reactivate at any time.
Want more tips on sprucing up your online presence? Download our LinkedIn Guide.
Elizabeth Kelton is the Director of Campus Engagement at Koru. A Colby grad, her first job was as an investment banking analyst at Barclays Capital. Most recently, she spent two years helping marketing agencies grow at HubSpot.