What if I told you that we all have two resumes?
The first is the crisp white sheet sprinkled with bullet points and carefully-chosen verbs. On it are descriptions of our education, the positions we’ve held, and acquired skills. This one we reserve for job interviews.
And then there are our other “resumes:” the Instagram account that reveals our love for happy hour, the Twitter account turned gossip column and the Facebook profile that has pictures that are just a bit too NSFW.
The reality is that hiring managers are looking at your social media just as thoroughly as your resume or cover letter. In fact, 45% of hiring managers use social media to learn more about potential candidates. Which means you want it to be just as pristine.
But cleaning up your online image doesn’t mean you need to change everything about who you are. It just means you may need to monitor how you post or what you share (and with whom).
Here are eight tips that’ll help you project your best online self—without sacrificing your personality.
1. Make your accounts private
Let’s start here in case companies are already looking at your social media. Simply go to your settings and choose only “friends” to see your activity.
Also, if you really want your profiles to remain personal, maybe only accept friend requests from people you know and not anyone in your professional network, like old bosses or co-workers.
That said, if you want to remain public, you should…
2. Hide or delete any inappropriate posts
These posts don’t need to go away completely! You can always archive Instagram photos, save Snapchats to memories, hide content from your Facebook timeline, or set your settings to “Only me” so certain posts are private.
3. Deactivate old accounts
Like your middle school YouTube account that’s been floating on the internet for far too long. If you wouldn’t care to revisit your teenage self, you probably don’t want hiring managers to, either.
Even if you don’t think you have any, google yourself! You might be surprised what you forgot you signed up for.
4. Add the right photos
Your photo is literally the first thing hiring managers see when they find you online.
No need to get a professional headshot, but do make sure that your profile and cover photos are professional and easily visible (and actually have one, none of that Twitter egg nonsense).
5. Add a professional bio
This is the best way to explain who you are, what makes you unique, and why you’re the perfect hire.
Not sure how to write one? Here’s an article that can help you craft the perfect bio for each platform.
6. Edit your handles and URLs
Because a custom URL takes less than a minute to create and looks far more intentional.
7. Post industry-related news, quotes, or articles
Post, share, or retweet anything related to the industry you’re in or want to be a part of. When a hiring manager sees that the mission of their company falls in line with your own brand, they’re even more likely to consider you for a position.
8. Follow inspiring people and companies
Blogs, news sources, and any other website you love count, too! This tells managers what you’re passionate about, which leaders you admire, and what trends you’re up-to-date on. As weird as it may seem, we also are who we follow.
Lastly, make smart social media choices. Before you post something, contemplate whether it matches the online presence you wish to uphold.
Think of it this way: If a hiring manager brought it up in an interview, would you be able to explain why you posted it?