Have you ever had to go back and delete social media posts after applying for jobs, because you’ve got the fear?

Well you’re probably wise to do so, because although social media can help you land a job when used properly, it can sure as hell prevent you from being hired, too.

In fact, one in three employers have rejected candidates based on something they found out about them online.

So, here’s a guide to what you need to know about tidying up your social media – with some top tips from the grads over at O2.

Don’t hinder your hiring process and lose out on a job offer just because you forgot to delete those photos from your holiday to Thailand back in 2008. Follow these tips and play it safe.

  1. Go back and judge yourself

    It might be an arduous process, but the only way you can be 100% safe about what you’ve posted in your former life, is to scroll back and take a look. Exercise some adult judgement; if your profiles are public, and there are photos of you throwing up in the street, or expressing views that are a touch controversial, would you really want a potential employer to see them? Don’t be too hard on yourself, but try and see yourself through the lens of someone else who doesn’t know you, and who may offer you a job.

    As Lydia Richmond, a marketing grad at O2 said; “if you wouldn’t want your mum to read it then have it deleted. I don’t think employers will care massively if there are a couple of pictures with a drink in your hand or you out at a club but think of the associations.”

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  2. Check who you follow, check yourself

    Lydia goes on to emphasise that it’s not just stuff you’ve posted that you should look out for. “Check what pages you have liked on Facebook!” she urges. “What you might have thought was ‘cool’ in 2012 might not go down so well now, I know some of my friends were part of ‘I hate homework’ groups etc. They are silly accounts but could still be present on your profile.” This rule also applies to Twitter, where other users can also see what you ‘like’, not just what you post, when your profile isn’t private.

  3. Streamline your selfies

    Love taking photos of yourself? #SelfLove is great and all, but if your socials aren’t private, do all those bikini shots and gym poses really give the best impression of you, before you go for your role in the corporate sector? By all means be yourself, but just think about how much of yourself you’re really exposing next time you’re doing it for the ‘gram.


  4. Get an app to help you

    Can’t be bothered to go and tidy up your social accounts? Sign up for a service like TimeHop, which pulls in your entire social media history and shows you exactly what you posted daily to each platform in past years. Find any questionable content? Delete it, or make it private. You’d be amazed at what you can’t remember posting. What might have seemed like playful humour eight years ago, could be terrifying today…

  5. Play it safe and go private

    Another option is to just go ghost on public searches. Make the whole lot private. George, a grad at O2 advises doing this if you don’t feel like going back and searching for everything. “If you think you might have posted something that could reflect badly on yourself, the best thing to do is to make your account private. That way only the people you want to be able to see your posts can see them. This can even be a temporary step while you trawl through your history making sure there isn’t anything bad in there” he said.

    social privacy

  6. Google yourself

    See what comes up with a quick search, but be sure to do it in a browser that’s not your usual one, or go incognito. This way, you’ll get an accurate picture of what pops up when people search for you.

  7.  Be strategic

    As George says “social media can be a great way for employers to get a clearer picture as to what kind of person you are” and this is vital when it comes to making decisions about team-fit. So if you don’t want to go completely incognito, just get creative with how you curate your pages.

    Follow people in the industry, interact with potential employers, post things publicly that engage with relevant debates, and show what kind of person you are! You can also change your profile picture to make you look present and online if that will help your job prospects. If you’re going for a social media role for example, how will it look if you haven’t posted since the bleak winter of 2014? Nuh-uh. Get with the program and get yourself some snazzy pics, and pithy, on-point tweets. Social media was created to allow us to communicate better with each other after all – make sure it’s a force of good in your life when it comes to job hunting.


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