Do You Really Want to Post That?

By Olivia Gabriel

What we put online has the potential to stay there forever. As a soon to be graduating senior starting my job search, I take caution when posting on my social media because I want my content to align with the personal brand I have created for myself. Seventy percent of employers turn straight to candidates’ social media before hiring them to capture a sense of who they are from their online presence.

Performing a personal social media audit is essential to maintaining the personal brand you have created for yourself and your reputation as a professional. Social media can reflect who you are and give a glimpse into your personality while still being professional.

So what does your social media say about you?

These tips can help ensure your social media positively reflects your name and doesn’t prevent you from securing that dream job.

Delete posts that may be harmful to your reputation.

Social media can be a place to show your personality, but it should remain professional and align with your character. Perhaps you have a tweet that didn’t age well, or maybe your Facebook is filled with pictures of college parties? Removing or at least untagging yourself from content that could be potential red flags to employers is important to maintaining a clean and professional presence online.

Be conscious of the content you decide to post and repost.

Consider what you are posting. Something you think is funny may be offensive to someone else. Before posting, ask yourself if you’d be okay with your mom or grandma seeing it? Or if you’d be okay if the post was attached to your name for the rest of your life? Taking just two minutes to think before posting could pay off significantly in the long run.

Update your social media platforms

If any employer goes to look at your social media, your social media platforms should reflect and show your current experience and accomplishments. Update your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms you may use to reveal who you currently are. Delete any old accounts or accounts that are inactive.

It is important for everyone, not just graduating seniors involved in the job search, to scroll through their social media to assess past posts and contributions to the web. Working in the professional world means holding yourself to a high standard and upholding a professional reputation.

Follow me on Twitter @liv_gabe or connect with me on LinkedIn.

This Article Has 13 Comments
  1. Ashley Peters says:

    As a senior that is graduating in the Spring, I found this post to be timely and relevant to my own experience. With the competitiveness of the job market, it is so important to ensure that nothing, especially an old Facebook photo from middle school, is going to keep you from your dream job. There have been numerous accounts of people that post offensive or embarrassing things in their younger years that come back to haunt them a decade later. If you can prevent that from happening by taking precautionary measures now, you might just avoid these highly controversial situations that some people have found themselves in.

  2. Jaden Watkins says:

    Olivia,
    This was a great blog post and perfect for college students to read! I think your points were very helpful and definitely something we all need to be aware of. The fact that 70% of employers look at social media is very scary. Great overall blog post and tips!

  3. Katie Zurbrick says:

    So, true story.
    The first time I had a grad school interview, I walked in to meet my interviewer in a conference room. He was sitting at a table facing me, and on the wall behind him he had my facebook, twitter, and instagram profiles projected. Neither of us said a word about it the entire interview, but he wanted me to know that he’d checked my social media. Thankfully there was nothing incriminating.

    Everything you said is true, but I think it goes deeper than that. Being aware of tagged photos that others have uploaded of you is something to be especially cautionary of, especially if you’re in your “college phase” of life and wildin’ out on the weekends or tuesday afternoons. In addition, the pages you follow, like, and comment on are also visible to many people who might be searching for you. So even if you didn’t post it, if it’s something questionable, a best practice is just to keep scrolling past and don’t even engage.

  4. Molly Kavanaugh says:

    Hi! I think this article is extremely interesting to think about.Although I do not have any inappropriate content on my social media, I often do not think about the digital footprint that I am leaving when I do post on social media platforms. This digital footprint can be spread in more ways than just simply posting on your own account, but also how you comment on your peers accounts and what people post of you. This can definitely make a negative impact on the way that companies view your persona, so you make a good point in the tips that you have mentioned throughout your article.

  5. Cameron Lewis says:

    Found this article to be insightful and useful, personally I’ve always questioned the validity to this theory. Traditional employers valuing our social lives has been a trending topic as the rise of social media has evolved. My biggest take away is how important it is to align your social media with your personal ethical values. What you say and how you post maybe much more critical than we may think.

    Great article,
    Thank you!

  6. Penny says:

    Hi, this is a really great post especially for the time frame we are in right now as college students. When we apply for jobs, it is important to note that potential employers may look at your feed. It is crucial to be clean on social media to represent your personal brand in a positive light.

  7. Madison Breuer says:

    Yes moderating what you put on social media is so vital to reputation! Employers are always looking especially when searching for a job in the journalism/PR field. You are your own brand. Even the smallest things, such as having alcohol in pictures. Always good to be cautious because once it is out there, it is always out there.

  8. Em Chan says:

    This is such a good reminder for everyone, especially in a time that lots of people get “canceled” because of cringey and offensive posts from their childhood – or even a post just months before. I think the point of deactivating accounts that aren’t being used that could also be problematic or cringy is also a good idea – I’m rethinking about whether or not I personally still have those kinds of accounts, so thank you!

  9. Caitlin Wahlers says:

    Great post! I would challenge you to take it further though and keep these lessons with you throughout life. We should all be cognizant about what we post online because it is a reflection of us.

  10. Bridget Kraus says:

    This is a great post! It is a good reminder to everyone, especially students looking for jobs, to look over their social media pages and make sure there is no compromising content. Everything you post online is pretty much visible to anyone, so it is definitely a good idea to be cautious about what you’re posting and decide if any posts on your pages should be deleted. When looking for jobs, you are essentially your own brand that you’re “selling” to potential hiring managers. You want to show yourself off in the most positive way possible.

  11. Hannah Miller says:

    Such a great post! Being aware of what we are putting out to the public is always important to keep in mind. However, as a senior in college this is something to be especially aware of now. Everything and anything we post online can be seen by anyone. We are our own brand, and the way we present ourselves is how we are selling ourselves to employers. Maintaining a positive image is very important, and something everyone should want in general.

  12. Josie Ruff says:

    Hey Olivia,
    This is a great post that has also inspired some great conversation in the comments. After reading your post I definitely did a quick check to make sure I was not tagged in any unflattering posts from freshman year on Facebook or something. Every time I read advice like this it takes me back to when people had those side accounts in high school to post the most stupid content without any regard for what could happen. Thanks for the good tips!

  13. Kyra Flynn says:

    Great post! I feel that many college students who are gearing up for the real world should consider tips when approaching social media. I have learned that your social media presence ultimately defines you and it is crucial that you create a personal brand that gives you a positive image.

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