The problem isn’t that you’re too public about your life. In fact, some employers say that a highly privatized social media account is a bigger red flag than a few unflattering pictures. It’s understandable that you don’t want every moment of your life to be published online, but employers want to see that you at least exist. How can you let your professional career shine through online without simultaneously sharing those few obnoxiously drunk photos?
The good news is, you can proactively censor your life without privatizing it completely. Here are some places to start:
Use Those Filtering Tools!
Timeline Review on Facebook is a Godsend. It’s like purgatory for anything you’re tagged in including statuses, photos and videos. This is how it works: after a friend tags you in a post, it is immediately directed to your Timeline Review. You can then inspect the photo and decide whether or not you want to have it posted to your wall. You’ll also receive the option of untagging yourself from the post altogether.
Edit and Delete
The days of, “anything you post on the internet is permanent” are over. Twitter and Facebook both have functions that allow you to delete content from your profile and wall completely. Facebook goes a little further by allowing you to edit anything you’ve written, even comments or replies to comments on posts. Take advantage of this new ability to literally take back what you regretted saying online. It only takes about 5 minutes to go through your previous tweets and edit or delete the ones you’re not so proud of.
You’ve heard this a thousand times before, but what are you actually looking for? Anything you don’t want people to see when they search your name. If your Myspace account from 7th grade pops up, you might want to consider deleting the account completely. Or, if you think of your old Myspace as a time capsule of a past life, then at least set up some privacy gates.
If you want to improve your personal SEO, you can update your LinkedIn profile every other week, or if you’re feeling ambitious, think about creating a website or blog about your professional career. These will filter to the top of search engine pages like Google and push older, unrelated content to the second page (no one reads the second page). This makes your professional information easy to find for hiring managers and limits the possibility of them stumbling across embarrassing posts from your tweenage years.