The social media lives of job seekers are becoming increasingly important. An Instagram photo, tweet or Facebook status update can create a long-lasting first impression, and many potential employers look at applicants' social media before they ever schedule an interview. The things you post online can make or break your job search, so follow these steps to clean up your social media before applying.
Delete Disparaging Remarks
One of the most unattractive qualities of a prospective employee is trash-talking. Delete those angry tweets you wrote about your ex and the status update complaints about your co-workers. A potential employer who reads those will likely wonder what you will post about his or her own company.
Eliminate Inappropriate Photos
No employer wants to see snapshots of the keg stand you did last weekend or the time you took a stab at graffiti. A good rule of thumb is to eliminate any photos you would not want to show your grandmother.
Check Your Grammar and Spelling
Communication through social media can be very casual, but if your status updates are filled with non-words like “u,” “l8tr” or spelling or grammatical mistakes, you send the message to potential employers that you are either immature, lazy or incapable of crafting a coherent sentence. None of those are messages you want to send, so clean up your spelling and grammar.
Avoid Posting During Business Hours
If a hiring manager knows you currently work a 9 to 5 and sees you posting Instagram snapshots at 11, he or she will think twice about how you will use their company's time. You may be bored out of your mind at your current position, but resist the urge to tweet.
Before you post anything, ask yourself if you would be embarrassed if it would come up in a job interview. If you must post things of a political, religious or sexual nature, change your privacy settings so just your closest friends and family can see it.
Don't Go Overboard with Privacy
It may be tempting to simply change all your profiles to the most strict privacy settings, but employers actually want to find you online. A strictly private social media profile makes employers wonder what you are hiding. Instead of staying offline or going private, give a glimpse of your personality.
Search for both your name and your email address to uncover anything you may have forgotten about, like that anti-corporation forum you joined last year or your old MySpace account. This will ensure you cover all your bases and don't leave any embarrassing corner of the Internet open to potential employers.