Social media has now become our best source of news and information; it’s the norm to view people as ‘weird’ or a bit ‘prudent’ if they’re not using sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These websites and mobile apps are great communication tools for keeping in touch with friends and letting them know what you’re up to but there can be a huge downfall when it comes to being on these platforms.
Before you know it you will be finishing university and applying for graduate jobs, during the applications to these jobs you will no doubt send a CV to an employer. However these days it’s not just your CV that they will be looking at to see if you’re the perfect candidate for the job- they’ll be looking at the whole of your internet life too. And if you’re not careful the likes of what happened to Paris Brown (a 17 year old who recently lost her job as youth police and crime commissioner due to irresponsible tweets) could happen to you. The best way to overcome this and let your professional personality shine through, over that drunken photo from Ibiza 2012, is to clean up your social media.
- Google yourself- The first step is to see what’s actually on the internet about you. Carefully go through what comes up when you search your name, if you’re not sure how you come across, put yourself in an employer’s shoes- would you really hire someone who tweets about how much they hate work/uni? It gives the company a bad image and a potential employer may fear you’d say the same about them.
- Create a professional email address- It only needs to be as simple as your first and surname. Could you imagine what an employer would think if “firstname.lastname@example.org” emailed asking about the recent job advertisement they’d seen?
- Use standard pictures and names- It makes it easier if all your usernames are the same or similar, like above, nothing that’s going to make an employer think twice about reading your CV. A standard picture of you on your own with a clear view of your face should be used on all professional social media sites.
- Clear out your Facebook- This is probably one of the most important points. Facebook is the number one place people go to check and find out about other people. Make sure you are careful as to what you update your status about, don’t have inappropriate photos (naked, drunk) and tell your friends to be careful about what they post on your page too. The best way to beat all this is to make your Facebook as private as possible.
- Be thoughtful on Twitter- If you’re not sure about a tweet or you think that someone might take it the wrong way- DO NOT TWEET IT. Twitter can be such a useful tool, if used in the right way. Potential employers may even look for job candidates on twitter, so make sure what you tweet accurately reflects your thoughts and personality.
- Leave the phone at home- Since Facebook started in 2004 big technological changes mean we can update our social media anywhere with a smart phone. But it’s not such a smart idea if you’re going out and having a few drinks. If you’re prone to updates such as ‘luvong lefe im da paarey’ then leave your smart phone at home and take a trusty Nokia 3310 out with you. No embarrassing updates and your battery will last the whole night!
- Delete old profiles- Forgot about your MySpace page from 2007? Well not all can be forgotten if you haven’t deactivated the page. The same goes for Bebo, old Blogs and YouTube videos, they may not contain the most offensive information but it helps to create a clean and professional online profile.
It can be a daunting or boring process to go through and sort out your whole internet life, but there are some great and easy tools or ways of getting around these problems. www.simplewa.sh is a website when you can log on to Facebook or Twitter and it will bring up all your posts with any “Undesirable Content”. These can then be deleted or changed. Another way of clearing out twitter is to use the ‘Twitter Achieve’ tool in the twitter settings. This downloads an excel copy of all your tweets to be sorted from there. Also Facebook are making it easier to un-tag lots of pictures at the same time. Whichever way you do it, having a clean social media profile for yourself is now one of the best ways to land yourself that perfect job once you’ve graduated.