by Penny Gleeson
Have you ever thought twice about putting something up on social media? Maybe you’ve done the classic ‘review and delete’ of last night’s antics or perhaps someone has called you out on what they’ve seen from you online.
Whether you’re posting to Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook or even Linkedin, it’s important to know that if an eight-year-old can find everything you’ve ever written online, so can your future boss.
Did you know that employers actually check your social media before hiring you?
A US study in 2017 found that 70% percent of employers used social media to screen potential employees and 30% had a dedicated HR staff member to search online. Why? Because they were looking for a professional online persona that reflected the qualifications of the candidate.
Whilst there have been serious cases that ended up costing people their jobs; it’s common sense that social media is part of our every day lives, so it’s time to use it to our advantage!
Curating a professional, well-rounded online persona can do you a world of good. Your online identity is your tool for personal branding.
Tips for being smart online:
- It exists forever. While a snap disappearing or a post being deleted may look like it’s gone for good, it’s not. There are many ways to save and store posts before you get around to deleting, such as screenshots or ‘save’ features. So, if you’re unsure, don’t post it at all.
- Do a search on yourself. Even platforms you don’t use anymore can be searched and found easily. To be sure, search yourself to see if there’s anything you’ve forgotten about that you no longer want. Deactivate any accounts that you will never go back to.
- You don’t have to disappear. Before going completely ‘off the grid,’ you can also delete individual posts and make accounts private if you do find something you’re not so proud of anymore.
- How private is private. Review your privacy settings and restrict who can see what. For example, what you want your family to see might be different to your employers. Check how visible your personal details are, including your birthday and previous employment.
- Be professional. If you don’t mind being public online, create a professional persona that will help your job prospects. Showcase your experience, work ethic, passions, portfolio and industry network on your professional account – LinkedIn and Twitter are great platforms for this!
So, think twice about what you post and if it shouldn’t be online, don’t post it!