You’ve picked out your outfit for the first day on the job, you’ve mapped out your Metro route, but have you updated your privacy settings on Facebook and made sure that your internet presence projects the professional image that you are going for this summer?
For most of your online content, there are simple steps you can take to keep your most personal information away from prying eyes.
Facebook – With more than 845 million users worldwide, Facebook is the most recognizable social media platform on the Internet. It’s also the platform where potential employers are most likely to search for you. There are tricks that job-seekers often use to keep hiring managers from glimpsing their pages. You can change your Facebook name to just your first and middle name or set privacy controls on who can find you using your contact information. However, the safest route is to assume that employers will find your profile and proceed with caution. Visit the Facebook privacy page and make sure that you have a thorough understanding on how to differentiate between public and private content on your wall.
When posting to your Facebook timeline, use the audience selector tool to choose what audiences can view the content you are sharing. Use the dropdown menu to choose if you want the post to be public, viewable to only friends, viewable to only you, or use the custom option to share the content with only specific people or groups. You can also use this custom option to exclude certain people or groups from viewing the content.
If you’re still nervous about what your public Facebook profile looks like, use the “View As” tool. Go to your profile page, and select the settings icon that appears next to the “Update Info” and “Activity Log” buttons at the top right hand corner of your timeline. From the dropdown menu, choose “View As…” to see how your timeline appears to the public. You can also enter a Facebook friend’s name to see how your profile appears to that person.
For more tips on Facebook privacy such as controlling who can find you on Facebook and how to review posts that you’re tagged in before they appear on your timeline, visit https://www.facebook.com/help/privacy/basic-controls.
Twitter – By design, Twitter is a public forum. In 140 characters or less, you can share your every thought or opinion with the world. Its default settings are to make your tweets, the people you follow, the tweets you mark as favorites and your retweets public. This information is not just viewable through your Twitter profile, it is also delivered to search engines like Google as soon as you hit that tweet button. Through Twitter settings it is possible to “protect” your tweets so that only users you approve of can view your content. However, that does not stop users you have approved of from retweeting that content publically. Whether your tweets are protected or not, you should consider every tweet public.
Linkedin – This is not the place for private content. Linkedin is the hub of your professional online persona. It is the world’s largest online professional network with more than 150 million members. Many of these members are employers searching for ideal candidates to fill their job openings. If you’re not already on Linkedin, create a profile today. Linkedin is your space to include all of the skills and experiences that could not fit on your one-page resume. Although there are some privacy options through Linkedin settings, keeping your profile as public as possible will broaden the pool of potential employers.
Google+ – The social media arm of its search engine creator, Google+ is a social networking site built around “circles” or groups of people with whom you share content. Much like Facebook, Google+ allows you to choose with whom each post is shared. You can elect to make a post public, or limit its access by choosing to share it with only select individuals or circles. Your name and any other information you make public in your profile are searchable on the web and may appear in Google search results. To control your Google+ privacy settings, visit https://www.google.com/settings/privacy.
Pinterest – Unlike its predecessors, this rising star of social media has no options for creating private content. Pins and boards on Pinterest are completely open to the public. Keep this in mind next time you are tempted to pin something that contains foul language to your “Makes Me Laugh” board.