Applying for Jobs? Make Sure to Clean Your Social Media

With Summer Internship/Job season quickly approaching, college students everywhere are scrambling to format resumes, build portfolios, and contact references. But what are they forgetting? Perhaps the most important resume of all...

Social media.

There’s a saying we all heard growing up that you shouldn’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want your grandma seeing. Now, imagine your BOSS looking over your profile. According to a survey from CareerBuilders, 70% of employers look at what job candidates post on social media, and 57% of companies have ruled out hiring someone because of the content they found.  Scary, right? Based on my own research of surveys like this, I have compiled a list of the Top 6 things you should NOT have on your social media profile when applying to jobs. Read, then take a quick scroll through your own posts.


1. Substance Use

Listen up, college students. A majority of you all are not yet 21, so if you have pictures of yourself actively drinking or clearly intoxicated on your Instagram, you are quite literally showing the world proof of you breaking the law! Not only that, but it shows a sense of unprofessionalism, especially if it appears from your socials that you go out A LOT. Can a company trust that you won’t come into work hungover every day? Don’t give them reason to believe they can't!

joaquin Phoenix speech golden globes from giphy

2. Discriminatory Content

Especially in this day and age, many companies are cracking down on any behaviors that contradict ideas of diversity, equity, and inclusion (AS THEY SHOULD!). Just because you aren’t necessarily offended by that picture of you in a Halloween costume from high school doesn’t mean it isn’t cultural appropriation. Or maybe that picture of you at a party with a certain “flag” in the background (I’ll let you decide which one) isn’t something a major corporation wants associated with their image. Be careful what you say online and try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes before you post!

police arrive at a Donald Trump protest in Phoenix Photo by AJ Colores from Unsplash

3. References to Illicit Activities

Maybe that picture of you posing outside a bar flipping off a police car was funny in the moment, but it won’t be funny when your future boss is scrolling through your VSCO. It seems obvious to say, but if you are doing something that could be used against you in court, maybe don’t post about it online? Is that common sense enough for ya?

Nick Miller New Girl GIF People are the worst GIPHY / 20th Century Fox Television

4. Bad Mouthing Former Employers

“Ugh, my old boss at XYZ Company was the absolute WORST!” If your future employer sees comments like these, or comments that are potentially much, much worse, about your former place of employment, they will wonder if you might throw hands with management at your new job, or if you are the one that’s difficult to work with. If you had a poor experience, don’t name drop the company! You can mention in an interview that you are looking for a more positive work environment where demands A, B, and C are being met, but be careful how you phrase it.

Warner Bros. Television

5. “Adult” Content

Again, depending on where you apply, posting potentially scandalous images of yourself online could be deemed unprofessional. That being said, there is a difference between a swimsuit picture at the beach and a lingerie picture in your bedroom. Very different messages being sent out! However, I know that self-expression and bodily freedom can go hand in hand. If being confident in your body through an OF account is important to you, then go for it! Just remember, your boss may have a different opinion, so it might be best to really gain a firm understanding on a company’s values and regulations before you make those accounts public.

20th Century Fox Television / Giphy

6. Profanity

Companies don’t want you mouthing off to coworkers or customers, so it is in your best interest to keep your language appropriate online. "Unprofessional" is kind of the theme here, and employers want to see not only that you can control the words you use, but also that you won’t potentially cuss out a client if you get upset. Don’t let them know that you know those words!

Image by Pexels

There can be such a fine line when trying to decide what is okay to post online. It can feel like it’s just your friends and family that see your profile, but once you put something on the internet, it stays there forever. Before you apply to internships or jobs, do a clean sweep of your socials just to make sure grandma would be proud!