7 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Image on Social Media
Cleaning up your social media account can improve your overall image and pay off big time. That's because more people are checking social media accounts now than ever before. In fact, according to the job search website CareerBuilder, 60 percent of employers admit to researching potential candidates through their social media profiles. As a safe bet, you should expect potential employers, college admissions offices, romantic partners, and even in-laws to Google your name and check your accounts. Here's how to clean up your internet presence in a pinch. (See also: 10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30)
1. Check all accounts
Make sure that you hit all the important social media channels when you're cleaning up your online profile. You'll want to focus on your social media pages across the board, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Don't neglect one just because you don't think you have a lot of followers or haven't been on it for years.
2. View it publicly
Sign out of your social media accounts or login and "view your profile as public" to see what strangers can see. Sometimes your privacy settings aren't what you thought. Imagine a potential employer is visiting your social media page. Are you happy with the image you've created? Delete things that you're not comfortable with the world seeing.
3. Upload recent photos
You can improve your job prospects by making a good first impression right away. Post a recent photo of yourself and make sure your best self is highlighted. A professional looking headshot is best. If you can't afford to hire a photographer, have a friend take some shots in good lighting.
4. Showcase your talents
Update your LinkedIn profile with recent projects to showcase your talents, as well as information on your interests and skills. Add keywords to your profile so that it is more likely to show up in searches.
5. Get a domain
Consider getting your own domain and using it as a portfolio. Here, you can showcase your recent projects, skills, and links for further information on your work. Add this link to all of your social media pages. (See also: 8 Surprising Ways a Personal Website Can Improve Your Life)
Having a social media presence and your own domain allows you to control what people see when they search for you online.
6. When in doubt, delete, delete, delete!
You'll want to clear away anything that interferes with the image you're trying to present. Consider erasing provocative photographs, controversial statements, and any posts that negatively refer to previous employers. Consider taking the time to go back several years. Some companies have interns whose job it is to go through candidates' social media pages and they're instructed to dig deep.
7. File a complaint when necessary
If there is embarrassing content that someone else has posted of you that you can't remove yourself, you may want to politely ask them to remove it. If there are items on your Facebook page that you can't remove yourself, you may want to contact Facebook Support or even submit a legal complaint to Google in extreme cases.
Just follow the general rule that if you don't feel comfortable with everyone at the office seeing what you're up to, don't include it on your social media accounts.
Consider setting up different groups for your friends and followers, so that you can limit some of your activity to only the people you trust. Sometimes it's unavoidable to add a coworker or boss to your social media account, but you can limit your posts to specific groups of followers and friends.
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