The Recruiter's Soapbox

Cleaning up your social media trail

Cleaning Up Your Social Media Trail

If you’re in the process of finding a new job, it is important to present yourself as being as professional and capable as possible. This involves writing a great résumé, dressing well and being punctual at job interviews, and being confident and likeable while being interviewed. However there is one more area that bears close consideration — keeping a clean social media trail.

The first thing potential employers are going to do is to jump on your linked in profile.  You are probably prepared and expecting this.  However, have you thought further a field?  Many potential employers will also Google your name, and check out any social media profiles on offer such as Twitter, Facebook, Myspace etc.  If there is content here that you would prefer an employer not to see, you may have some social media cleaning up to do!

Cleaning up Facebook: Step-by-step

You need to set your profile to private. This way, employers will have to add you as a friend before they can snoop around your personal life, and since doing so is poor etiquette, employers are extremely unlikely to do add you. To set your profile to private, take the following steps:

  1. Log into your Facebook account.
  2. Click on the ‘Account’ drop-down menu at the top right of your profile, and then click on ‘Privacy Settings’.
  3. You’ll now see a page that lists your various Facebook features and tells you who can see them, with the potential categories being ‘Everyone’, ‘Friends of Friends’, ‘Friends Only’ and ‘Other’.
  4. Click on ‘Customize Settings’. You can now go through each feature and select the privacy level from the above-mentioned categories. To ensure potential employers cannot see your profile, set everything to ‘Friends Only’.
  5. When you’re done, click ‘Preview My Profile’. You’ll see exactly how your profile looks to those viewing it who aren’t on your friends list (such as your potential employers). If you have a respectable profile picture and have set everything else to ‘Friends Only’, you should be fine.


Cleaning up Twitter: Step-by-step

Unlike Facebook, which won’t make any content you produce on its website available on search engines, Twitter most certainly will. Luckily, turning off this option is easy.

  1. Log in to your Twitter account.
  2. Click on your user name in the top right corner of the screen, and then choose ‘Settings’ from the drop-down menu.
  3. On the Account tab, scroll down to ‘Tweet Privacy’ and check the ‘Protect my tweets’ box. This will mean only those who you have approved will be able to receive your tweets.

Once you’ve cleaned up your Twitter and Facebook trails, there still may be other social media remnants on the Web which you need to clean up. First of all, delete that old MySpace profile you used when you were 16 — it’s probably overrun by spam now, but it’s still able to be found on Google. If you do still use MySpace, then set it to private.

Try Googling your name, too, and see what comes up. If there’s anything that looks untoward, such as an embarrassing comment on a forum or another social media profile you forgot about, go ahead and take steps to remove it.