Sometime after you submit your resume but before you get an interview, it’s inevitable that potential employers will do a cursory Google search on you.
While you may find the practice somewhat discomforting, looking up potential employees online is now considered the norm. With the advent of social media, what was once considered private is now public. Not only are those awkward junior prom photos visible online, so is that regrettable halloween costume from a few years ago.
Before you graduate from college or embark on a job hunt, it’s a good idea to purge your social media presence. A good rule of thumb is to delete everything you wouldn’t want a sweet, old grandma to see.
This means taking the time to untag or delete inappropriate photos, delete those drunk tweets and hide your blogs. It’s also important to make sure all of your accounts are private and appropriate for a young professional.
Many Millennials have been denied jobs because of their web presence. While it’s normal and healthy for young people to experiment and let loose in college, it can negatively impact your professional goals when it seems like a prominent part of your public image online.
On that note, it’s also important to remember to pick an appropriate profile photo. While it doesn’t necessarily have to be a professional headshot, unless it’s LinkedIn, a nice photo of you looking sober is probably a safe bet for Facebook and Twitter.
If you want to impress potential employers even more, it may also be a good idea to curate online content. Instead of posting your results of those admittedly addicting, Buzzfeed quizzes on your Facebook wall, it’s a good idea to post interesting or informative articles. Your online presence should reflect the kind of person you want to be perceived as.
Social media is a way for potential employers to catch a glimpse of who you are as a person, not just a worker. By managing your online presence, you can portray yourself as someone who’s not just an asset to the company, but a great coworker.
Editor's note: There are a lot of great tools for managing your social media presence! Here's a tutorial on deleting yourself from the internet, including social media sites, and this site allows you to search through your old tweets.