Every once in a while, it's a good idea to do some digital cleaning. It might be wise to set aside some time to clean up your social media profiles, especially Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Your future employer will look at your social media profiles and what they find could sway their decision. Even if you aren't actively searching for a new job, having up-to-date profiles is a smart strategy.
Seventy percent of employers say they look at candidates' social media profiles, according to a 2017 survey from CareerBuilder. These quick tips can help you do a little digital housekeeping and ensure you're presenting and sharing the best information.
All social media profiles:
Update your profile picture. If you are using the same headshot from years ago, update your profile picture with a current image. You can use the same one across all your social media accounts for better personal brand recognition.
Update your banners. Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to select a banner image at the top of your profile. You can use this image to highlight an achievement, your interests or a special event. Your banner on Facebook may be different from LinkedIn. Remember, LinkedIn is a professional network. But employers are checking you out on Facebook, too, so make sure your banner isn't too personal or doesn't reveal information you don't want your future employer to know.
Refresh your bio or 'about' section. When was the last time you reviewed your bio? Is it still relevant? Have you included the right keywords? Refresh this information on all the social media sites you are active on. You don't have to use the exact same wording across all your profiles, but there should be enough similarities between them that someone knows they all belong to you. And don't forget to double-check the link you include to your online portfolio, personal website or LinkedIn profile to make sure it is still working.
Remove unnecessary information from profiles. If you've included your mailing address, birthdate, marital status or other personal information in your "about" section or any publicly visible portion of your profile, it might be a good idea to delete this information from your public profile. Note that the social network may require some of this information when setting up your account. You can't bypass that. You just don't want this information viewable to the public, so review your settings.
See what Facebook knows about you. You may have seen the option to download your Facebook data. In case you missed it, click on the down arrow at the top right of your Facebook homepage and click on settings, then click on "Download a copy of your Facebook data." By reviewing the information Facebook has collected, you can better monitor what you share. In other words, pay attention to any posts or pages you "like" or places where you check in.
Remove unnecessary apps. Quizzes are fun, but at what price? And do you really need to log in using your Facebook account? You can never be sure how these apps might use your information. To see which apps and websites have access to your data, use the down arrow again and select settings. Choose the apps and websites menu item. This will show all the apps and websites you've given access to your Facebook profile. Remove the ones you no longer trust or want to access your data.
Pin a tweet. You can select one of your tweets to be static and appear as the first tweet on your profile. This is a great way to draw attention to an important event or achievement. Make sure the tweet you select is recent and highlights something positive. It's the first thing someone sees when they look at your profile.
Use lists. To ensure you can easily see the news from key Twitter accounts, create lists to organize the feeds you want to follow and add accounts to the appropriate list. Your lists may be about industry news, local events, friends, important companies or other topics you don't want to miss.
Clean out the clutter. Review your posts and make sure that you delete any that are irrelevant or a distraction from your personal brand. When someone lands on your Instagram profile, they will see thumbnails of your posts and you want to make sure your collection makes the best first impression.
Review hashtags. Review the hashtags you've used and make sure you use hashtags for the groups you want to be affiliated with. You can go back and edit older posts to include the most beneficial hashtags.
The bottom line: Show you are up to date and a savvy digital consumer by refreshing your accounts, and remember: When you unwittingly share personal information online, it makes you vulnerable professionally and otherwise.