Job Market Newbies: Lock down your social media profile

closeThis article could be out of date, as it was published 1 year 1 month 5 days ago.

Just entering the job market after years of schooling, other employment or parenthood?

We know it’s tough out there. Jobs, sadly, do not grow on trees, and making a good first impression is vital if you’re going to succeed.

Crafting a perfect resume, rehearsing your answers pre-interview and making sure you look presentable and professional are all part of the regular check list. But how many of us think about what impression we’re making online?

Don’t be one of the 10 percent…

A report from London-based market analyst On Device Research in June found that one in 10 young job hunters have been rejected from a job because of their social media profile.

Yet roughly two-thirds of respondents said they aren’t concerned their current use of social media could affect job prospects down the line.

We can expect similar results in the US. Typically, job seekers don’t know if an inappropriate Facebook pic or a social media comment lost them a job. Therefore, that 10 percent figure could be even higher.

None of us are perfect and most rational employers know that, but job seekers need to be aware of the cyber research many HR teams and interviewers conduct on potential candidates.

Simple steps for a social media cleanse

Of course, going back to check the thousands of tweets, status updates and pictures linked to you online is not particularly practical, but there are some basic steps you can take to clean up your social media profile and lock it away from prying eyes.

Google yourself. This is what your potential employer will see when they search for you, so it’s a good first step. Follow the links and try to take anything embarrassing, offensive, argumentative or lewd offline. Always err on the side of caution.

Spend time on your LinkedIn profile. This is your online resume and should be professional and comprehensive. Hopefully, it’s the first and only social site interviewers see.

Think about setting your Twitter account to private, but remember, this won’t automatically protect tweets made before that time.

Make your Instagram profile and photos private – Instagram has a privacy setting which will make all your photos available only to those you select.

Lock down your Facebook profile - Employers will be looking at what groups you’ve joined, photos you’re been tagged in, and comments you’ve made. Make sure anything you don’t want them to see is made private. I suggest also making your profile unsearchable.

Use a Privacy Scanner - Trend Micro Titanium Security 2014 has a Privacy Scanner for social media, which will identify privacy settings in Facebook, Google+ and Twitter that may leave your personal information publically available. You can then manage your settings within the scanner as you wish.

Pick Your Battles - Try to stay non-combative on the public internet. Picking online arguments and leaving derogatory comments will single you out to a future employer for all the wrong reasons.

SPEL CORECTLY – If you’re going for a job that requires good linguistic or written skills, make sure your grammar and spelling is spot on. If you frequently use ALL CAPS online, it’s probably time to take a more subtle approach.

Once you have your social media profiles locked down, your potential employers can focus on the information you want them to know about you, not your social media regrets.

Shannon McCarty-Caplan (Consumer Security Advocate)

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