By now, you probably know that your social media presence is an important part of your job search. Many employers check your social media profiles for inappropriate images, as well as status updates and posts about things that might be construed as problematic.
It’s not just your own images that you have to be worried about, though. Your friends and others can put up images of you and tag them. So even if you don’t post pictures of the booze cruise you went on last week, someone else might tag you. There might be questionable pictures from years ago that you have forgotten about.
Using a Facebook Application to Get Rid of Tags
While the images will still be there, it’s possible to get rid of the tags, and do some damage control with the help of a Facebook application that helps you scour your profile for images that you are concerned about. Tag Tamer is designed to help you easily locate images tagged with your name, and then remove the tag. It shows the images of you with different friends at once, so you can select each of the images you want “tamed” and then do them at one time.
It still takes a little bit of time, but it might be an easy way to get to the bottom of the images that are tagged with your name. Another option, if you don’t want to share your information with yet another Facebook app, is to simply go into your Facebook profile. Under photos, you will be able to view photos of you. You can go through them, and remove your name from those that you think run the risk of hurting your professional image.
Whether you use an app to help you locate the images, or go through your images yourself, it’s not a bad idea to do what you can in terms of polishing your online image. If social media becomes a regular part of background checks and vetting, you will want to make sure that you aren’t coming off as too unprofessional in your social media profiles.
Don’t Forget Your Status Updates
It’s not just images that potential employers might look at. What you say online can also have an impact. Postings that encourage illegal behavior, trash talk former employers, share workplace gossip, or indicate bigotry, can all be grounds for choosing not to hire you.
Go through your Facebook timeline searching for comments that might be construed as inappropriate and delete them. You can also delete Twitter posts (which are searchable in Google). Sanitizing your social media profiles might not completely work, though. Sometimes, one of the best defenses is to make sure your profiles are private. It’s possible to protect tweets, your Facebook profile, and other social media profiles. However, no matter how hard you try to protect your profiles, there is always the chance that something gets out there.
As a result, the best policy might actually be to think before you post. Before you make a comment, or update something, ask yourself whether or not you might be better off not sharing it online.
Tom Drake writes for Financial Highway and MapleMoney. Whenever he’s not working on his online endeavors, he’s either doing his “real job” as a financial analyst or spending time with his two boys.