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Clean Sweep: Tidying Up Your Social Media Presence

social media presence

About two hours — that’s how long Americans spend on social media each day. Between tweeting, liking, and posting, what you share online gives others full access to your life, from your political views and social habits to your favorite TV shows and what you ate for breakfast on Thursday.

How important is social media presence?

We’re sharing more personal information than ever on social media, and you never know who may stumble upon your accounts. How about a prospective boss? CareerBuilder’s 2015 social media recruitment study revealed that 52 percent of employers research applicants online. And don’t forget Great Aunt Esther. More and more older adults are embracing the internet and social media. If your profiles don’t quite showcase you in the light you’d like to be seen (such as an awesome new employee or favorite great niece), it might be time for some spring cleaning, one platform at a time.


Who isn’t on Facebook nowadays? Reigning as social media king (with more than 1 billion active daily users!), it’s likely the first place someone will search for you.

  • First things first — look at your photos. You’ve heard this before, but it begs repeating: Delete any images you would not want a potential employer to see. Change your privacy settings on photo albums if you just can’t part with those sorority mixer snaps.
  • We all have that Facebook friend known for posting lengthy rants about politics, their employer, and their life in general. Don’t be that friend. Remove any inappropriate or discriminatory content and examples of poor writing or communication skills.
  • Don’t forget about your likes and groups. They not only reveal what you’re involved in and what you care about, but also can say a lot about your image.


It’s the reason why kids today don’t know that a hashtag was originally known as a pound sign. With 310 million active monthly users, you’re bound to run into someone you know.

  • When it comes to 140 characters, proper spelling and grammar are usually the first to go. Frequent misuse, however, is a sign of poor writing skills and results in an inability to get your message across.
  • Blurting out your angst, tweet after tweet, can really take a toll on how you’re perceived. Save the griping for your mama — as long as she agrees to not post it on her Twitter account.


It’s your go-to place to post pictures of sunsets, brunch, and your dog. Along with 500 million other people.

  • After going through all of your Facebook photos, Instagram is next. Don’t overlook those commonly forgotten tagged photos, either. A picture is worth a thousand words, so you want your feed to tell a positive story about you.
  • Mind your list of followers. Insta-spam is alive and well. You don’t want any inappropriate accounts tampering with your online presence.
  • Ease up on the selfies. Self-involved much? It shows.


The most career-oriented of the bunch, it should be maintained as such. Network with 433 million other users all without having to rock a suit.

  • Start with your profile picture. That Instagram selfie isn’t going to cut it here. Stick with a high-quality headshot. You want to look approachable and use a non-distracting background.
  • Your profile should be up-to-date and match your résumé. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s option to add relevant links, images, and videos to really amp it up. Use these features to show off tangible examples of your work, so your profile serves as a one-stop shop for your employment history and skills.

A Google search of your name with location and former job titles doesn’t hurt, either. Cleaning up digital dirt can take time and energy. But it’s well worth the effort to convey who you want to be online. Check out our blog for more tips on how to improve your social media profiles, as well as your résumé and cover letter, for your next big job interview.