In our recent 6 Ways to Check Your Background Before You Apply for Jobs post, we talked about the importance of fact-checking your own records. Red flags in your academic, employment, criminal, driving, credit, financial, and even social media history can prevent you from landing the hourly job you want.

The focus for today’s post is on cleaning up your social media accounts. 96 percent of job recruiters use social media in the hiring process, according to a recent Jobvite survey. When recruiters and hiring managers review your accounts, they are looking for warning signs in your past behavior that might affect your future performance. If they find any, you probably won’t get hired.

Make sure employers find only a true reflection of the serious candidate you are on your social accounts by following these instructions:

Keep most of your activity private
Use your privacy settings on Facebook and other social platforms to display only carefully chosen images and posts to the general public. Keep photos under tight wraps if they show you partying with friends, using alcohol or drugs, or behaving in ways that might be perceived as questionable.  As for posts, hide any previous boss bashing, secrets about previous employers, negative comments, arguments, embarrassing personal information, or emotional rants from the general public. Finally, make sure that there is nothing in your social media accounts that contradicts what you have told employers about your work history.

Close the Facebook privacy loophole
So you’ve marked all of your NSFW photos and posts private, and your Facebook account is ready for screening, right? Not quite. If Facebook has recently asked you to confirm your phone number, you may have also agreed to being found by anyone who searches that number. Through this loophole, any visitor can read your entire feed, which means you don’t have the privacy you thought you did. To close this loophole, open the advanced privacy option menu. Change the “Who Can Look Me Up?” setting from “everyone” to “friends”.

Proofread your posts for spelling and grammar
Know the difference between “your” and “you’re”? Many people don’t, and using the wrong word can stand in the way of getting hired.  Simple spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as texting shorthand (like “u” instead of “you”) can suggest to hiring managers that you are sloppy or careless, which might reflect how you perform on the job. If spelling and grammar are not your strengths, find someone you trust to proofread your social accounts and let you know which posts and tweets need to be corrected or made private.

You’ve worked hard to get the job - don’t let a few mistakes on your social media accounts take you down. Take them down instead.

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