Four Ways to Clean Up Your Social Media to Get the Job You Want… Even During a Furlough

Looking for a new job or trying to get into college? Now is the time to clean up those accounts and get more focused on your goals.

The start of a new year is a great time to get your social media accounts in order if you’re looking for a new job or applying to schools. Many employers and colleges delve into the social accounts of their prospective hires and applicants, just to get a feel for what they’re all about.

A recent Kaplan survey of admissions officials revealed 68% think it’s “fair game” to review an applicant’s social media profiles to help them choose which students they’ll admit. Likewise, 70% of hiring managers say they’re screening the social accounts of applicants, according to a CareerBuilder survey. They’re specifically looking for inappropriate screen names, inappropriate photos and videos, posts about drug use, and posts bad-mouthing your previous employers.

If you’re on the job hunt, it’s vital that you consider how frequently you’re posting to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Of course, you’ll also want to focus on exactly what it is that you’re posting.

Government employees and contractors impacted by the current government shutdown can use this time to focus their social media to highlight their hobbies, side hustles, and work. That effort could lead to much-needed business and clients.

Here’s how to do it:

Scrub Through Your Accounts

Delete what doesn’t represent who you are today. This doesn’t mean you have to go back 8 years and read every single post, but give it a good scroll through, click around your photos, and utilize Facebook Memories to help pinpoint anything that may need to be deleted.

Remember, private does not mean protected. Even if your page is private, anyone who you’ve allowed to follow you can take screenshots and share what you’ve posted.

Only post what you’re comfortable with having out there in the world. Remember, the Internet is forever!

Be Intentional with Your Posts

Decide to show more of a balance with your accounts. Show your followers and friends a mix of life, work, and leisure. Rants and cute video shares are okay, we’re all human, but showcase the other things that are going on in your life.

Set an intention for your social media and make sure your pages reflect the person you are today, not the teenager or 20-something who first opened those social accounts.

Use Social Media to Your Advantage

While Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram may be your besties, don’t forget about LinkedIn. If career advancement is what you’re after, this is the platform you need to curate. Complete your profile there, use a current professional photo, post about industry trends and news, and get to networking!

Start posting about your chosen career field or the industry in which you’re hoping to advance. This move will help establish you as an expert. Post about industry trends, news, and any work you may be doing in those areas. The more you post, the more people will believe you know what you’re talking about. Seriously, this is a thing and it really works.

Another method to help you position yourself as an expert is to use industry-related hashtags in your posts. People following those hashtags will begin to see your posts, which may create more networking opportunities. Also, create your own unique career-related hashtag and use it frequently, in all of your relevant posts.

The days of waiting for someone to open a door for you and give you an opportunity are over. Create your own magic!

Breathe, Read Before Posting

Ultimately, this is really the golden rule of social media. Ask yourself, will this post matter in a month or a year? Does this post help my career? Is this post necessary? Is it rude? Then, hit post.

Watch my WUSA9 Great Day Washington segment on cleaning up your social media.

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Jackie Aina

Video Production & Writing

My expertise includes field producing, researching and writing short, snappy videos for use online and