With the massive increase of social media over the past few years, it’s now possible for anyone to have some kind of online presence. Because of the opportunity to have multiple social platforms, maintaining a squeaky clean presence is all the more important. Regardless of whether or not you are looking for a job or are happy with your current one, monitoring your online networks and keeping your posts professional is crucial. Here are a few tips I’ve compiled that will help you keep your online profiles in check:
1. Good Ol’ Reliable Google Search
Have you ever searched for yourself on Google? Well, you should. This gives you a chance to see what people might come across when they first look for you online– the good, the bad and the ugly. Searching for yourself online is one of the best ways to identify what you need to clean up in terms of your social profiles. You should conduct two searches: one while you’re logged into your accounts and one where you are incognito. When you’re logged in, you can see what your friends and family see, but when you aren’t logged in, you can view what companies or employers might stumble across when they search for you.
2. Change Your Privacy Settings
If you aren’t familiar with the privacy settings for each social network you use, it’s time to bite the bullet and understand how they work. A few social platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, allow you to view your profile through the eyes of different users (i.e. users who are your friends, users who aren’t, users who have restricted access to your profile, etc.). This way you can literally see what people will view when they click on your profile, and it can help you better craft your presence. Pro tip: a feature on Facebook allows you to pre-check photos you are tagged in before they are published to your timeline, so that horrifying picture you begged your friend not to post will never show up on your profile. You’re welcome.
3. Use Professional Profile Pictures/ Cover Photos
This bit of advice might be considered obvious, but believe it or not there is an alarming amount of people on the Internet that don’t understand what constitutes as a professional photo. Hopefully, you’ve heard this before but if you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see it, you probably shouldn’t use it as your profile picture or cover photo. Even if you are having the tiniest doubt about using an image, take that as a sign that you shouldn’t post it. A professional profile picture should clearly show your face and contain no offensive language or images. The same idea goes for cover photos– no offensive language or graphics. Keep it simple. When in doubt, ask a friend if they think an image would be appropriate to use for your social profiles. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
4. Think Twice Before You Post
This goes hand-in-hand with the above tip, but it rings true for anything you put on the Internet. Always, always, always think before you post and if you aren’t sure about something– ask! You could post something thinking that it’s completely harmless, but someone could interpret it an offensive (remember, this is the Internet). To avoid this, ask yourself, “Would/could someone find this offensive?”, “Is this appropriate?”, “Would I want a potential employer seeing this?”