How To Work-Proof Your Social Media Accounts

Clare Spaulding | @puyple

If you have recently applied for a job, there’s a good chance that this potential employer is checking your social media accounts to gain some insight as to who they are really hiring.  But is your online life ready for such scrutiny?  Here are a few tips so that tweet from the bar last night doesn’t ruin your chances of employment:

1. Beef up your privacy settings

Most social media sites that deal with personal information have privacy settings that allow you to choose who sees your content.  On Twitter, you can make your account private, in which users may only follow your tweets with your approval.  Facebook offers a multitude of different privacy settings, and even allows you to group friends into audiences in order to block certain content from them.  This means that if you still want to add friends from the office, you can block them from seeing that not-so-work-friendly status.

facebook privacy settings

(For a complete explanation of Facebook’s privacy settings, go to Facebook’s Help Center and click on Privacy.)

2. Don’t mention your employer

No matter how many privacy restrictions you have, it is not advisable to mention work on the Internet.  This goes beyond when you’re looking for a job.  Everything is searchable, and it’s important to make sure that nothing you say or do on social media could get you fired.  If you have the name of your company in your profile information on Facebook, anything you say about ‘work’ or ‘my job’ is automatically associated with that company.

3. Both action and inflection show polish to perfection

Your accounts should reflect a basic understanding of the target language, grammar, and punctuation.  “i luv catzzz!!!111” is probably not suitable content for any profile page.  Show your potential boss that you can communicate clearly with your fellow human beings.

4. Use common sense

Ask yourself, “Is this something I would say to my boss’ face?”  It is up to you to discern whether something you would like to post online is work-friendly or not.  However, if you have to think twice about posting it, you probably shouldn’t post it.