Can Facebook photos of you partying with friends cost you your first job? Can off-color tweets or Instagram posts lead a potential employer to pass you by? Is it worth the time to clean up your social media presence, especially during a job search?
Yes, yes, and yes.
45% of employers indicate that they check out candidates on social media, and the vast majority are unlikely to hire candidates whose online presence reveals unprofessional conduct. Here are four tips to presenting yourself in the best light:
1. Understand what you’re dealing with. Google yourself and see what comes up. Review your platforms to remind yourself what you’ve posted. Get rid of anything that you wouldn’t want your future boss to see — anything from last weekend’s house party to sloppy typos. “You can’t hide from social media, so embrace it and use it wisely and creatively,” suggests Evan Vogel, co-founder of the Night Agency “Use it to stand out amongst your peers. But just remember, once it’s out there, it’s out there. So think, do I really want to world to see this before you post anything.”
2. Change your privacy settings so that you’re only sharing vacation pics with family and friends. “It’s important to separate church and state as much as possible,” Matt Strode, chief talent officer at Urban Outfitters, advises. “When it comes to social, less is more. Even if you looked great on that beach in Cabo, do you really want your future boss seeing bikini shots?”
3. Pick a professional profile photo. Scrap the photo of your niece eating chocolate cake or your sexy kitten costume last Halloween. Nobody needs to hire a sexy kitten (if they do, you probably don’t want the job). “It takes five minutes for a friend to take a great headshot of you,” says Strode.
4. Create the right content. Just as you want to eliminate the negative, you also want to accentuate how passionate and knowledgeable you are about your chosen field. Post content showing that you’re in touch with what professionals in your industry are talking about.
This article was originally published on TeenVogue.com.