For recent college graduates, the transition from the leisure of college to the “real world” can be a harsh reality. Few companies are hiring at the entry-level, internship programs are being axed, and new job postings are sparse. Every application you submit matters, and if you’re a legit candidate, the recruiter will likely track down your social media profiles — it’s often a requirement to list them in your application.
Here are five ways to present yourself on social media to prevent spoiling your chances at an interview or a job.
Don’t Like Suspect Tweets
Of the popular social media platforms, Twitter shows the most about one’s personality, particularly if you’re a regular tweeter. If your real name is attached to your account, it’s common sense not to tweet or retweet anything inappropriate, derogatory or offensive. But liking tweets of such nature can often be done without a second thought. If your Twitter account is public, anybody can view your “liked” tweets. If a potential employer sees you supported a suspect tweet by liking it, your chances at progressing in the hiring process could take a significant blow. Supporting a worthwhile cause is fine. If you insist on liking scandalous tweets, however, either remove your real name from your account or go private.
Pressing the little blue heart beneath a tweet takes less than a second, but it can potentially cost you a chance at a job.
This mainly applies to platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. The first thing someone sees when they visit your profile is your profile picture and your bio. Make sure your profile picture is of you and one that you’d want a potential employer to see as a first impression.
On Twitter, it is a good idea to list your college, year of graduation, and your experience. For example, if you had internships with The New York Times and NBC the last two summers, write “Past: @nytimes, @nbc.” Especially for those pursuing a career in media, listing your experience and appearing professional on Twitter is incredibly important.
On LinkedIn, your profile picture should be a clear head shot and your headline, job title, and location should be up to date.
Keep Your Pictures Private
The majority of your pictures online are likely on Facebook and Instagram. If you have photos with alcoholic beverages in them or any that portray you in a bad light (i.e., at partying, middle finger showing), it is crucial to have your accounts on those platforms private. High school seniors have traditionally changed their names on Facebook so college admissions can’t find them and see their pictures. That’s not necessary during the job-hunt, just make sure your accounts are private.
In the unlikely scenario you are comfortable with a potential future employer having access to all the pictures of you on the internet, feel free to keep your accounts public.
Use a TikTok Pseudonym
TikTok has rapidly become one of the most popular social media apps. If you make TikToks (you aren’t still flossing, are you?), you likely don’t have a private account, as that would keep you from achieving your pipe dream of going viral. The easy solution is using a handle and username that doesn’t include your real name.
Be careful, though. Once you create or change your handle and username on TikTok, you can’t again for 30 days. Make sure your liked videos are private, too.
Keep Your LinkedIn Profile Up to Date
In addition to having a professional head shot, an updated job title or headline, and location attached to your LinkedIn profile, make sure your experience, skills, and education are all up to date. Many job applications, regardless of the field, ask for a link to your LinkedIn profile. If your experience listed on your profile doesn’t match the resume you submit, it shows a lack of attention to detail. And make sure you don’t just copy and paste when you add your resume onto your LinkedIn.
A professional, modest appearance on social media won’t be the reason you get an interview or a job offer, but a sloppy, scandalous one can easily ax your chances. Altering your social media to appear a bit more professional requires little effort — at most, it could take an hour — and you’ll be happy you did.