Is your online image ugly?

Have you ever Googled yourself?  If you answered “no”, then try it.  The first three things that come up when I search my own name are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter in that order.  It is now common for employers to Google you or search for you on these social media platforms before they hire you or maybe even before they meet you.  While it is important for these accounts to represent you accurately, you need to remember that they are out there for the world (and your potential employers) to see.  What will they see? If you just got a knot in your stomach at that thought, then most likely the way you are represented on Facebook is not the way you are represented professionally fix it before it costs you an opportunity.

  1. Remove any “friends” you haven’t spoken to lately.  We all have those random friend requests we accepted before college on the off-chance we might meet these people at our first party as freshman, but do you know who they know?  Yes, your boss might not be your friend on Facebook, but many employers have their interns do their snooping for them.  The less people with access to your profile, the better.
  2. Do not display tagged photos. Period.  You can still be tagged, but make sure they are for your eyes only.  We’ve all had that moment when your friend decides its hilarious to tag you in an embarrassing photograph and it’s been up for days before you get a change to de-tag.  You can avoid it completely by hiding all of your tagged photos…and you should.
  3. Decide which accounts you will use as professional representation and keep them that way.  I use my Facebook socially, so I rarely include it with professional materials.  My Twitter and LinkedIn accounts are used solely for professional purposes and I keep them that way.  I only publish things that I am comfortable an employer could see and it would help me…not hurt me.

This article from the New York Times enforces the most important Facebook privacy settings and the safest ways to set them.

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