You’ve polished your resume, carefully chosen your interview suit, and done your research on your prospective employer. You’re ready to get the job of your dreams. But out in the amorphous cloud of the internet is something that could hold you back—your social media accounts.
If you’re looking for a new job, going for a promotion, or if you just want to keep the job you have, it’s a good time to tidy up your online image because it’s a good bet that the people who hold the future of your career in their hands are checking it out.
Here are seven things you want to clean off your social media accounts and never post again:
1. Negative posts about jobs, employees, or coworkers. While you may have legitimate complaints, social media is not the place to air your grievances. It shows an extreme lack of professionalism, and will give recruiters pause no matter how fantastic your experience or resume may be. And if you’re complaining about your current job, there’s a good chance you can get fired.
2. Pictures or posts about partying with your friends. This is another type of post that calls your professionalism into question. Will you call in sick on Mondays? Will you be out doing things that will embarrass the company? Can they really trust you to make good decisions when you’re making bad ones on social media? Have fun and take pics, but keep them off the internet.
3. Posts or rants about political or religious issues. Since the 1840s a common rule of etiquette has been to never discuss politics or religion in polite company. While the internet is rarely polite, this rule of etiquette still holds true. It’s great to have opinions and to be passionate about things, but when you post these opinions to social media, you are posting them to the world. What you need to consider is that a current or future employer may hold a very different opinion from you and your posts (right or wrong) will impact how they think about you.
4. Excessive swearing or vulgarities. If it’s something that would not be acceptable to say or show at work, it probably won’t cast a good light on you in social media.
5. Posts about personal drama. Generally, no one wants to read about personal drama online, and posting it indicates that you’re not good at dealing with it, and the recruiter may wonder if you’ll bring that drama into the workplace. If you’re going through a tough time, call up a good friend and vent; don’t post it for the the world to see.
6. Online Game Posts. Lots of people play these games, but if a recruiter sees the game posting to your timeline every couple of hours, they may wonder how you use your time.
7. Horrible grammar and typos. No one expects your online posts to be perfect, but if they’re riddled with bad grammar and typos, it makes you look lazy or incompetent.
Take a step back from your social media feeds and try to look at them as if you were a stranger seeing them for the first time. Have you posted any of the above seven things? If so, delete them. Do they paint a picture of an intelligent, well-adjusted, relatable person? If not, clean it up. And then after your major tidy up, think before you click “Post.”