How your Social Media Accounts Influence the Job Search


You’ve probably been told to clean up your social media accounts when searching for a job. However, you should actually keep your social media clean regardless. Applying for a job is a long process but you should add social media restoration at the top of your to-do list. It’s more than taking down photos of you partying and not using curse words in your tweets. If you want to be seen as a professional to your interviewer, be professional on social media. Before even applying for the job, do these five things to ensure your social media accounts do not hinder you from scoring that dream job.



1. Search yourself

Google yourself and see what results come up. Do you want your future employer to see these results? If not, contact the person controlling the site where sensitive information about you is found and ask he or she to take it down. Check Google’s removal policies to see if the content falls under what they will willingly remove. However, remember this will take a while to change the results on a simple Google search, so be proactive. Searching for you online is probably the first thing a future employer will do when reviewing your application. “All social media is an extension of you and how you want the public to perceive you. As a prospective employee and job applicant, you should always put your best foot forward,” says Kaitlin Swisher, interim director for the Communications and Marketing Office in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University.



2. Untag yourself from photos

Specifically on Instagram, you can “untag” photos of yourself so the photos do not show up on your profile. When posting and posing in others photos, carry yourself like the future boss you know you will be.



3. Network, network, network

A future employer will be impressed if you use social media as a networking tool and not as the celebrity you think you are in your head. Engage in popular and trending conversations, discuss topics on your prospective fields, share articles, and carry yourself online in a professional way. “I am impressed if the candidates are using their Twitter accounts for professional purposes,” Swisher says.



4. Make your accounts private

If you do post things that could hinder your job application, make your accounts private. Your future employer will probably look at your accounts before they even meet you, so your social media is an introduction of you. It’s important to show your personality and style, however you must still showcase the positive aspects of your life. If you aren’t going to mention it in an interview, you probably shouldn't post it.

“Facebook has a helpful privacy check-up tool that allows you to quickly see who can see what is on your profile,” Swisher says. Because their privacy standards change regularly, it is helpful to run this check-up every few months. You can also quickly view how the public sees your profile through the “view as” link.



5. Look for red flags

Swisher describes red flags to be anything unprofessional, including inappropriate appearance and/or nonverbal cues in photos, unprofessional language and content, and poor grammar. “My biggest red flags are posts featuring alcohol, smoking, partying, cursing, illegal activity, and repetitive selfies. Using good grammar is especially important for positions in public relations, journalism, communications, and marketing,” she says. Look through each of your social media accounts and scrutinize posts from the last year to make sure you take down anything featuring a red flag.