Professional Image Spring Cleaning: Social Media Clean Up

Apr 04, 2019 Pete Newsome Pete Newsome

Spring is a time when the world comes to life with blossoming new opportunities after a long winter. For many professionals, it is an excellent time to apply for new jobs, according to TopResume. When seeking a new job, you’re likely focused on finding the right position, updating your resume, and writing the perfect cover letter. What may not be as top-of-mind is your social media presence.

According to a CareerBuilder survey:

“Seven in ten employers (70 percent) use social networking sites to research job candidates during [the] hiring process- Nearly half of employers (48 percent) check up on current employees on social media- A third of employers (34 percent) have reprimanded or fired an employee based on content found online.”

Even more significant is that 57% of prospective employers who research using social media “found content that caused them not to hire candidates.” So, cleaning up your social media presence can be important to your search for new employment.

How to Clean Up Your Social Media Presence

In our digital world, it’s easy to see how your professional image and personal brand are intangibly linked to your social media presence. Everything falls under scrutiny by prospective employers and recruiters: from the posts you write or share, to the images you post or are tagged in. These platforms provide an unprecedented amount of information about you — and, sometimes, too much information can adversely affect your chances of getting a job. It’s always best to stay away from the “three Ps” when job hunting: Profanity, politics, and partying.

This is why knowing how to clean up your social media presence is essential for any professional who uses social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and others. Take the time to perform a little virtual “spring cleaning” with some focused social media clean up activities. Here are a few tips for the best way to approach these digital housecleaning tasks:

Social Media Clean Up Tip #1: Set Your Profiles to ‘Private’

The first step for cleaning up social media profiles is to set all of them to ‘private’ in your account settings tabs. We’ve put together some information about how you can update your privacy settings on three of the top social media platforms:

Improve your social media presence on Facebook: If accessing Facebook from your mobile device, select the three stacked bars on the top-right corner of your mobile app and scroll down to Settings & Privacy. Select Settings and scroll down to the Privacy section. Here, you can:

  • Manage your privacy settings (who can see specific types of profile and personal information, your jobs, education history, etc.
  • Change your Face Recognition settings (allowing Facebook to recognize your face in images and enabling others to tag you in them).
  • Change your settings relating to who can post on your timeline or tag you in posts or images.
  • Manage who follows you or can comment on your public channel posts.

Improve your social media presence on Instagram: To change your privacy settings in the mobile app, select the icon of the person in your bottom-right corner to access your profile. Select the three stacked bars in the top-right corner of your screen and tap on the Settings option at the bottom. From there, select the Privacy and Security option, review the settings in each category, and move from one section to the next:

  • Account Privacy: Here, you can set your Instagram account to private.
  • Photos and Videos of You: Here, you can change your settings to allow or disallow images and videos to be automatically added to your profile.
  • Comment Controls: This section allows you to block or hide comments from specific people or that contain specific offensive terms.

Improve your social media presence on Twitter: Click on your image (profiles & settings) and select Settings and Privacy. On the left-hand side navigation, select Privacy and Safety. In the next window, check the box next to Tweet privacy to protect your tweets, which will only make your tweets available to select individuals. In the same window, you also can:

  • Change your settings to allow only the people you follow, or no one, to tag you in photos.
  • Change your ability to be discovered by email or phone number.
  • Deactivate location information on your tweets.
  • Hide sensitive content.

Don’t want to set your profiles entirely to private? That’s okay. Here’s how to improve your personal social media presence without removing your profiles entirely from the public eye:

Social Media Clean Up Tip #2: Be Selective of Your Images & Captions

When performing your social media clean up activities, review all of your image and photo folders to ensure that there are no inappropriate photos or videos of you. This entails removing pictures with intoxication/excessive alcohol use, drugs or other illicit substances, and images that are sexually explicit or are otherwise inappropriate.

It’s great to showcase your fun side and personality so long as you present yourself as an intelligent and respectful professional. Delete or untag yourself in any images that do not promote this professional image. While you may have had a blast doing a kegstand in college, this type of behavior does not align with the professional image you want to present to prospective employers or recruiters.

Note: It’s not enough to merely look at the images when cleaning up social media — you also need to review every image caption and comment carefully. Make sure any messages on your profile are clean and void of foul language by removing curse words or other derogatory terms.

Social Media Clean Up Tip #3: Keep Your LinkedIn Up to Date

LinkedIn is a platform that is commonly used by prospective employers and recruiters to source passive job candidates, and your profile makes a substantial impact on your professional image. According to an article from U.S. News & World Report, your profile and the keywords you include in it play a significant role in your appeal to prospective hiring managers and recruiters:

“About 95 percent of recruiters utilize LinkedIn as a major sourcing tool to find candidates to present to their client companies seeking top-tier talent… Meanwhile, keyword searches are the most common way of finding ideal job candidates with the right skills and accomplishments, followed by searching previous employers, searching through contacts and then searching contacts of their contacts.”

Here are a few tips for how to improve your personal social media presence and professional image on LinkedIn:

  • Keep your profile information and work experience up to date: Review your LinkedIn profile to see how it looks to a prospective employer. Make sure that you include your most recent employment information (job title, employer, a description or list of responsibilities, etc.).

  • Include any relevant statistics: If you have data that you can point to, be sure to include that in your profile. For example, if you work in marketing and want to showcase your success as a marketer, be sure to include relevant statistics such as marketing email open rates, click-through rates, content offer downloads, conversions, and any sales tied to specific marketing campaigns.

  • Use a professional headshot: In many cases, your LinkedIn photo is a recruiter or prospective employer’s first view of you. Create a strong first impression by using a complimentary and professional picture.

  • Create a strong headline: Although LinkedIn automatically creates one for you, you have up to 120 characters to create a customized headline for yourself that can build on or enhance your profile.

  • Optimize your profile: When you search for jobs, see what skills, functions, relevant experience, and industries employers are looking for in prospective candidates and change your profile matches. The skills section, for example, is comprised of keywords that you included in your Skills & Endorsements section as well as other key terms you’ve included throughout your profile.

Work with a Professional Recruiter

Want to know how your social media profiles rate or want some individualized recommendations for your social media clean up efforts? The knowledgeable and experienced recruiters at 4 Corner Resources (4CR) are here to help. Our recruiting and staffing professionals provide guidance and recommendations to candidates about how they can update their profiles, resumes, and prepare for interviews with prospective employers.

Contact us today to speak with one of the recruiting and staffing experts at 4CR!

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