We have been so fortunate that all of the technological enhancements that we’ve encountered has really allowed us to connect with the world around us. Long gone are the days when you mailed letters because long distance phones calls were so expensive. Waited several days for your photos to be processed to share them with your family. Went to the library to do research for a paper that you need to write for school. Technology has really allowed us to spread out and share knowledge with each other 24/7.
The caveat to that is that our footprint stayed in this cyber world for infinity. Whatever you did in your youth will travel with you to your job if you are not careful. Before you start your job search, be sure you clean up your online presence.
#1 Lock down your profiles
Make all of your profiles private with the only way for individuals to see you is by friend request. This is your first line of “defense” to ensure possible employers do not have a chance to see your personal life and make a judgement about it.
#2 Get rid of any obscene images
Scrub down your profile and ensure there aren’t inappropriate hand gestures, you aren’t shown passed out or surrounded by alcohol bottles, and you aren’t doing anything illegal. Also, you may want to consider getting rid of any risque posing pictures of yourself as well.
#3 Review everything that you’ve liked, commented, or have been tagged in
Avoid anything that is religious, political, or controversial in nature. We are all entitled to our own opinion on everything that happens in the world, however that opinion should stay private to those who know us best. The rest of the world should see you as a steward of the world, in a positive, professional light. Unless you specifically chose to work for a religious-based or political-based organization, your profile should stay neutral to religion, politics, and everything else controversial.
#4 Remember: whatever you post online may be used against you at your (future) employer
People forget that many companies do have policies in place regarding your online presence. You become a representation of the organization you work for. If it doesn’t align with the goals and values of the organization, that organization may reprimand you, up to and including termination. I have known several people who had been terminated due to what they posted online.
Bottom line– be careful what you put out there.
Have you ever had to “cleanse” your online profiles before? What were some of the things you decided to remove and/or hide?