Is your job hunt failing? Here are five things you need to do to clean up your digital footprint

Wondering why you’re not landing roles that you should be a good fit for? The answer could lie in your digital footprint! Here are five things you need to do to clean it up.

If you’ve been job hunting recently, it’s likely that various hiring managers and recruiters have given your social media pages a bit of light stalking. And what they see can either help or hinder your job search.

We’ve all posted things that we wouldn’t necessarily want our boss to see. But this means there could be drunken photos from university or even some unprofessional comments lurking in your social media’s history. 

You don’t need to delete your social media profiles entirely to make a good impression, but a good spring clean is a smart idea!

1) Google yourself

The best way to see what employers will see is to Google your name and check the first few pages of results. It’s likely to display your LinkedIn and Facebook pages, as well as any industry press or blogs that mention your name. 

If your name is pretty common, it might not show anything about you at all. It’s always worth checking though.

Handy tip! Check Google Images as well as normal search results. If there are any images of you, make sure they’re SFW (safe for work)!

2) Update your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is the most professional social networking site, so a natural go-to for hiring managers and employers. If the information on your profile contradicts something on your CV, or you haven’t updated your profile for a while, it can raise some questions.

The previous roles on your CV should match up with what’s visible on LinkedIn, including dates, company names, and job titles. If you haven’t edited your profile for a while, you could also give your skills a refresh and make sure your photo is flattering, professional, and recent. 

(Find out how we help you update your LinkedIn profile.)

3) View your Facebook as a stranger

Have a look at your Facebook profile as if it was the first time. Go onto your profile and click ‘View as public’ – you’ll be able to see what potential employers will see. This includes uploaded photos, tagged photos, written updates, and your ‘About’ information.

As you’re looking around, check the content represents you well and wouldn’t raise red flags for any recruiters.

4) Limit past posts

Many of us have had the same social media profiles for years. If you don’t want to be haunted by something you thought was a good idea in Year 10, select ‘Limit past posts’ on your Facebook profile. This will make it harder for strangers to see anything more than a couple of years old. And that includes your hairstyle from 2009…

5) If in doubt, lock your social media down!

If auditing every photo sounds a bit time-consuming, or you’d rather just keep your social media for friends’ eyes only, setting your pages to private is an easy solution. 

Your Instagram and Twitter profiles can be hidden from anyone you don’t know (including recruiters!) in a couple of seconds. Just go to settings and choose ‘Private’ or ‘Protected’. It’s also very easy to protect your Facebook profile from prying eyes. Your settings will show you what content is visible to who, so you can choose who should and shouldn’t be able to see it.

5) Post quality not quantity

If your social channels are where you showcase your work and network with people in your industry, locking them down can have a negative impact on your job search. This is particularly true for people working in creative fields, like design, photography, and digital.

To keep these profiles looking as impressive as possible, archive any images that are out of date and keep posting content that reflects you and your skills. Regular activity looks good to recruiters and shows you’re busy, in-demand, and proactive.

It’s a myth that employers will run a mile if they spot a photo of you holding a glass of wine. Everyone’s human. However, they will think twice about hiring you if they see something inappropriate, sweary, or indiscreet posted online. Before you send your CV off for a new role, make sure your social profiles are something to be proud of!

Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV. He is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.

Photo by Sincerely Media