Does having your personal life and professional life broadcast through social media require heavy censoring?
It definitely does. We hear more and more every day that companies and HR departments are checking Google, Twitter feeds and Facebook accounts for unprofessional commentary, lewd pictures and possible negative backlash before they interview or hire you.
So what are you doing to manage this potential career stopper? You have quite a few options and I’ll provide you with insights to each of them.
Locking up your Facebook
“A survey conducted by CareerBuilder found that the top reason employers reject candidates is for posting inappropriate photographs. Next on the list? Hosting content about alcohol or drug use. Clearly boasting about how many pints you downed last night isn’t the wisest idea, but it seems even the most conscientious Facebook user could find themselves misjudged by a page they “liked” years ago.” (Provided by The Guardian)
So before you go scrambling to conceal who you are, think about it. Facebook owns everything you’ve ever posted and could re-appear at any time. The best option you have would be to go into your Security settings (shown below) and change the settings of who can view what on your profile. Make sure these settings are strict. Remove the ability for the general public or friends of friends to view your pictures, posts and likes. Check and see how many posts from the past can be viewed. I typically tell friends and family that anything over a year is probably not relevant to be seen.
(Photo courtesy of Arid.net)
Do a simple search for your name on Google. Are you brought up in general searches a lot? What kinds of sites is your name associated with? To make sure this doesn’t affect a potential interview or hire, go in a remove yourself from that site. Rest assured, that anything that doesn’t portray you as an alcoholic party-animal or an extreme activist is probably fairly safe to be seen. It could even be beneficial to show your employer what you’re interested in or that active online. Just think about it as a CEO, not a friend or family member.
To make your Twitter account updates private, go to to Twitter and sign in. Click on Settings in the top menu on the right and then click on Account in the top left menu. Next click on Protect My Updates near the bottom of the page. Then click Save.
Once you have made your Twitter Updates private, you must approve your followers that you want to allow to read your tweets. You will receive an email notification when someone wants to follow you and you just have to approve them.
This is especially helpful for all you Instagram users who automatically send those bathroom selfies, what you’re about to eat or how many beers you’re about to funnel to Twitter with an obscene amount of #hashtags.
Now my favourite option. This is where you take your personal account on Facebook, lock it down and change your last name to something else. Maybe a nick name, I wouldn’t recommend your middle name, in case the employer could find it out. Hide who your friends are and make sure that you monitor your “wall” or “Timeline” effectively and hide anything that makes you uncomfortable.
Do the same with your Twitter. Remove any professional networks and write them down. Now go to Facebook and Twitter and create new accounts under your real name, or the professional name you use on your Resume. What you are doing is creating 2 personalities. Re-add the professional connections to your new account and send them a brief message about the change of profile. This may seem like a lot of work, but many handheld devices now allow you to carry multiple accounts that you can easily switch between; just make sure you remember to do so!
Let’s all just make good choices my friends going forward.
Until next week!