OnlineDegrees.org’s 25 Essential Steps To Clean Up Your Facebook Profile Before Graduation

If you’re entering your final year of school, you have probably been told over and over and over that your Facebook profile can have an impact, positive or negative, on whether or not you are hired.

However, there is more to getting ready to enter the working world than hiding that photo of you and your buddy shot-gunning a beer. Online educational resource OnlineDegrees.org shared its “25 Essential Steps to Clean Up Your Facebook Profile Before Graduation” with AllFacebook:

  1. Review privacy settings: Without the right privacy settings, anyone can see anything they want to on your Facebook profile. That includes your likes, friends list, photos, and information you’ve shared about yourself, like your education and employment. We recommend shutting everything out but your education and employment, keeping the rest of your life locked behind a “Friends Only” wall, and consider the level you want to choose for new posts on a per-post basis.
  2. Show off posts that are helpful to employers: You can choose to hide all of your posts, but there are some that might be useful for employers to see. Simply select these as being available to “Everyone.”
  3. Update your professional history: You may be more on top of updating your resume than your Facebook, but if employers see that they don’t match up, they might think you’re lying. Make sure that your degrees, jobs, and internships follow the same history on your resume and social media.
  4. Take a hard look at your info page: Be sure that your interests, quotes, and relationship status show off the best you. Drug references, bad language, and political quotes can be a major turnoff for employers.
  5. Go through your photos with a fine-toothed comb: Drunk college photos and pics from the beach are pretty obviously inappropriate, and should definitely be untagged and/or removed, but don’t stop there. Keep an eye out for seemingly innocent photos, like mixer parties that involve alcohol or images that might reveal your political persuasion.
  6. Set up profile review: Using this feature, you can make sure that everything going on your wall — posts, videos, and photos — is personally approved by you. That means friends can’t take embarrassing photos of you at a party, tag you, and leave them to haunt you on your Facebook timeline.
  7. Hide protected information: Employers can’t discriminate based on your age, race, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, or pregnancy, to name a few. But for many Facebook users, this information is out in the open. You may be comfortable sharing it, but do keep in mind that employers can see this information to discriminate against you without ever even having you come in for an interview.
  8. Go through your wall: With the new timeline feature, this can get pretty tedious. Even posts and photos from your early days on Facebook can come back to haunt you. But doing a review of everything that can be seen is essential. Simply go through your entire timeline, removing or hiding any posts and photos that don’t reflect well on you professionally.
  9. Review your activity log: It’s pretty straightforward to go through posts and photos on your Facebook timeline, but what about comments, likes, and posts that you’ve shared elsewhere? Check out your activity log to make sure all of your activities on Facebook are employer-safe.
  10. Cut out emoticons: Employers aren’t impressed by emoticons as a method of expression: 12 percent of employers say they wouldn’t hire someone who uses them. Be sure to hide or remove any posts that include emoticons, and stop using them for future posts.
  11. Watch your language: Worse than emoticons are f-bombs, which employers generally frown upon. Delete status updates with foul language and remember to keep things professional.
  12. Don’t forget spellcheck: Along with cussing, poor spelling is also a terrible reflection on your language that can be a major turn-off for employers. Show off your professionalism with proper spelling and grammar.
  13. Stay positive: Although drinking, drugs, sexual content, and political discussions are the major red flags on any profile, general negativity can hurt you, too. Employers look for job candidates with a positive attitude, so be careful about posting negative or snarky updates on a regular basis.
  14. Keep your rants offline: In a similar vein, ranting about nearly anything is a major turnoff for employers. We’re not saying you should keep every comment to yourself, but be sure to consider how your long, drawn-out comment might look to someone who is interesting in hiring you.
  15. Claim your vanity URL: Make sure that your name is popping up in searches by claiming the vanity URL for your name. To do so, you’ll just need to choose your Facebook user name, and we recommend that you use your real name if it’s available.
  16. Establish your brand with a profile photo: Show off a unified image of yourself on social media, using the same professional photo as your profile on Twitter, Facebook, and any other site.
  17. Create a professional cover photo, too: Show off your professionalism and personality with a cool cover photo for Facebook timeline.
  18. Manage your social media reputation with a service: Websites like Reppler will monitor your social media image on Facebook and other sites to help identify any potentially embarrassing issues and risks that might compromise your image among employers.
  19. Keep quiet about your terrible job: It’s OK not to like your job (especially if you’re searching for a new one), but don’t whine about it on Facebook. You might scare off potential employers with your negative attitude. Hide or remove negative employment-related posts, and keep if to yourself moving forward.
  20. Highlight what’s important: On your Facebook timeline, you can identify some of the most important posts that you’d really like to show off. All you have to do is click the star in the top right corner and choose highlight. Then, your post will enjoy full-width status on your page to gather more attention.
  21. Stay on top of deleting and untagging: Anything on your wall, whether you posted it or not, is a reflection on you. So the wild political rant that got shared on your wall or the embarrassing photo you were tagged in reflect on you whether they’re welcome or not. Be sure to check out what’s being posted to your wall, and hide, delete, or untag anything that’s questionable.
  22. Cull your friends list: Every friend you have on Facebook is a liability. They can post unsavory messages to your wall, check you in to places, and tag you in photos. And if employers want to find out about the company you keep, they may judge you by the friends you have on Facebook. Do you really know everyone on your list? Unfriend anyone who is not really a friend, or whose profile has rude or embarrassing photos and posts.
  23. Watch out for applications that open your profile up: Apps from employers and job search sites often have terms and conditions that give the app access to features on Facebook, like your photos. So even if you’ve locked them behind a private wall, they can be accessed through apps.
  24. Check up on app permissions: Be sure to go through your privacy settings to make sure that you’re not allowing too much. You can find out what permissions each app has and decide if you want to keep it by going to your application settings.
  25. Delete your account: There’s always the nuclear option: opting out of Facebook altogether. It’s a surefire way to keep things private, but also keep in mind that without a profile, employers may be missing out on valuable information that can get you hired.

Graduation caps image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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