Social Media Spring CleaningSpring cleaning isn’t just for your home anymore. If you’re looking for a job,  it’s time to do some social media (online presence) spring cleaning. Possible future employers are looking at social media before making a decision to hire. And current employers are checking employee’s social media to see if there is anything that might go against company policy or looks questionable.

According to a Career Builder survey, “more than half of employers have found content on social media that caused them NOT to hire a candidate. 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.”

Those statistics should be alarming and a wakeup call if you’re looking for a new job.

When performing a spring cleaning on your social media, it’s good to look at the sites you use. Even if they are new or may not generate as much traffic as other, more popular sites, you will need to clean them up as well. You never know who will go deep into a Google search. For the purposes of this blog, I’m talking about all social media rather than each one individually.

Here are some basic rules to follow when screening and cleaning each of your social media profiles and all of your online presences. Make sure your actual photo and background photos are as professional as possible. Again, I’m talking about ALL of the online media you are on. If you have a photo of something else as your main photo or background photo, make sure it’s not offensive and can be understood by most. The headline or tagline section should reflect who you are professionally and it makes you look like someone that can be taken seriously. If you are unemployed, do not have “seeking” or what you are looking for. It seems like a great thing to get the word out on social media but in reality, it will only hurt you. You should be networking enough on social media that you can tell people about your situation without advertising it.

The “About me” or “Summary” section should contain something that is professional. Think about things that may define you professionally and how you want people to perceive that. Don’t just put your job title, which only gives a part of who you are professionally.

Do a sweep of all of your posts on all of your online presences. If you post political, religious, or anything else that might be offensive, remove it immediately. This may take some time, depending on how long you’ve been on social media and how much you’ve posted on a particular site.

Think about who your friends are on social media. It’s not easy, but if a human resources professional, hiring manager or anyone else can see anything they do not like, chances are you will not get hired. And the excuse of “maybe I wasn’t supposed to work there” is not good enough. You could be perfect for the job, but if you do not clean up your social media, you may have missed an opportunity that may not come around again.

Another thing you should do is clean up things that you have “liked.” This goes for all the photos, meme’s, gifs, and quotes that are not appropriate. Other things to look at are the groups you follow or were added to. Go into those settings on each of your online media and start looking to see what you can omit. Groups that do not pertain to your goals should be gone.

This rule is very important. Even if you have your privacy settings to the highest on all of your social media accounts, there are ways to find specific items. So don’t take the easy way out and think that just because you are great at setting all of your social media to “private” things won’t be found.

A good rule of thumb is to ask friends, family, coworkers, and possibly a professional you trust to look at your social media.

As always, the Grantham University Career Services department is here to help. Please reach out to us and we would be happy to give you a review of your social media.

Contact Career Services at (800) 955-2527 ext. 173 or at