Why You Should Clean Up Your Social Media Before Job Hunting

Why You Should Clean Up Your Social Media Before Job Hunting

This might sound like one of those things parents say to their teenager, who will promptly roll their eyes because mom and dad are blowing things out of proportion, but it’s true: What you post on social media today, or in the past, can come back and influence whether you get hired. 

Just as employers are interested in your working and educational background and might use that to determine whether you might be a good fit for a job, HR managers might look into how you portray yourself online. If your social media accounts are public, assume someone in a position to determine your employment will be taking a look. 

A survey taken back in 2014, when social media was somehow less polarizing than it seems now, some 93% of recruiters said they looked at a candidate’s social media activities and profiles before determining whether to make a hiring decision. 

A few other nuggets of thought on why you should take a look at your social media profiles when looking for a new job: 


People love to take selfies when they’re out with friends. That’s great! But what else is going on in those photos? What’s in the background? How is everyone dressed? What are the facial expressions? How often do selfies show up in your feed? No one’s asking anyone to live an austere and pious life of 100% professionalism, but if all your photos are of questionable or unprofessional activities, it might hurt your first impression. 


What someone does in the voting booth is their sacred right and privilege. You have the right to feel and think and vote as you wish, but it’s possible some hiring managers will look at other candidates if your social media posts are powerfully charged positions on the topics of the day. This is especially true if you’re applying to jobs with any kind of political affiliation or for which your employer might have relationships in the public eye to consider. 

Words matter.

This goes beyond the political to the personal. How you speak, from the words you use to the tone you utilize and even the way you spell, all of that reflects up on you, your character and your professionalism. If a hiring manager looks at your profile and sees negative language or criticism against a group, or an abundance of profanity, or any kind of discussion that doesn’t fit with the company’s image, it might be a dealbreaker before you’ve had a chance to say hello in an interview. 


So what can you do about it? There are a few ways to go. 

Lock it down.

Consider making your account private. If your profile is locked, you pick and choose who can see what you post, and anyone not accepted by you as a follower is on the outside. The downside of this is that some managers might be curious as to why they can’t find you online, which could be a problem if you’re applying to a job with social media responsibilities. 

Clean it up.

Depending on the platform, you can hide or delete old posts that might be called into question. How far back you want to go is up to you, but keep in mind that the internet is forever and if someone really wanted to be difficult, they can go back to the dawn of your time on the internet and find a post you might wish you’d never made. 

Create a new, professional account.

This might seem like the perfect option: You only follow and interact with professional accounts, organizations, very high-level and civic-minded accounts, only posting positive messages and using these accounts for networking and job hunting purposes. But keep in mind, your other accounts might be found and could create a little friction. 


Ultimately, it’s your choice how you want to act on social media and whether you want to make changes while you’re looking for a job. Just keep in mind that an old post from high school could come back to hurt your future. 

If you’re looking to enter the working world, or if you’re looking to make a change and a fresh start, contact LeadingEdge Personnel. Take a look at our job board and see what sparks your interest, then give us a call and let’s get started! 

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