Editor’s note: This story is part of a series offering advice for job seekers. WealthofGeeks, which syndicated this story, is a content partner of WRAL TechWire.


Before Vicki Morris was the CEO of Face to Face Marketing, she worked for another company as their social media and PR manager. Morris interviewed and hired new employees to join the company’s social team. She found one candidate that she felt, based on the woman’s resume, would be promising.

A few days before the interview, Morris decided to look up the applicant on Facebook and Instagram.

“She had a huge following, which I thought would be an asset for the position,” Morris said.

As Morris began looking at the candidate’s posts, she found several nude photos of the potential hire from a planned photo shoot. She also noticed profanity used in the captions. While certain body parts had been blocked out in the photos, Morris realized that the candidate did not have an image that would fit to represent the family-friendly business.

“Our social media posts often highlighted team members, so we could not risk a potential client finding this information on social platforms about one of our employees,” Morris says. “That would be a potentially huge credibility hit to the company.”

What can candidates applying for jobs do to clean up their social accounts?

1. Put Yourself in Their Shoes

When posting on social media platforms, put yourself in a potential employer’s shoes. What would they think if they saw you arguing with other users on Twitter or blogging about how your boss is the worst on Tumblr? It’s time to put a cap on negative online rants. Think before you post and imagine how a future employer might perceive this content out of context. You may even consider KonMari-ing certain accounts and mass deleting old posts that no longer represent the person you are today.

2. Change Your Privacy Settings

According to Laura Handrick, Senior Careers and Workplace Analyst at Fit Small Business, one of the fastest ways to clean up your social accounts is to change who has access to your accounts. Ideally, everyone should not be able to access your photos and posts.

“Ask yourself: what kind of social media account settings can I change that will limit the general public from viewing content and photos on my account?” Handrick says.

3. Hit Refresh on Profile Photos, Background Photos, and Descriptions

Are you half-naked in your Instagram profile photo? Is your background banner photo on Facebook taken at a party? Does your Twitter bio include risqué song lyrics or vulgar words? Handrick advises quickly overhauling all of these potential liabilities on your social accounts.

The simplest way to switch everything out is to make your replacement photos benign photos. For example, Handrick says you can use images of you with family members or pets or on vacation.

“It’s likely that a hiring manager will take only a quick glance at these images, rather than looking for and scrolling through all your posts going back to your college partying days,” Handrick says.

4. Make 30-Year Social Media Posting Decisions

What does this mean? Morris says to ask yourself if what you post today on social accounts is something you’ll be proud of if you saw it 30 years later. If yes, go for it. If not, it’s not worth posting.

Morris also notes that it’s possible that controversial social media posts, if not deleted or secured through privacy settings, may be brought up during a job interview. If this happens, Morris advises that candidates not lie about what they have posted in the past. Instead, be honest and acknowledge that you did share this content. Then, tell the interviewer what you’re doing (or have already done) to clean up the pages. This shows you’re being proactive about your social footprint and working to establish good character online and offline.

(C) Wealth of Geeks

This article was produced by FairyGodBoss and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

It was originally published at: https://wealthofgeeks.com/social-media-presence/