Before you embark on your job hunt, it’s a good idea to clean up your social media presence. Why? Because, like it or not, potential employers may look at your online presence – and make a judgment based on what they find. You don’t want to ruin your chances of landing a great job just because of something you’ve put on social media.

Here are some quick steps to take to clean up your social media before job hunting:

Deactivate old or duplicate accounts.

If you have any old or duplicate accounts out there, it’s wise to go ahead and delete them entirely if you’re not using them. There’s no sense in having more accounts out there – there could be something on those accounts that you’d rather not have an employer see. Plus, it could confuse the hiring manager who is looking over your social media if they find multiple accounts for the same person. It’s best to have only the active accounts that you use and make sure they’re representing you how you want to be seen.

Delete any posts that could detract from your reputation.

Make sure anything inappropriate or controversial is deleted from your social media platforms entirely. It’s always best to play it safe. Don’t forget to check out any posts or photos you’ve been tagged in, too. An easy way to make sure you’re in the clear is to Google your own name and see what comes up. If a result ties back to something inappropriate on your social channels, take the necessary steps to get it taken down.

Clean up your profile names and handles.

Your profile names, extensions, and handles are an extension of you as a professional. It’s a good idea to make sure they all match and that they use your real name. If possible, make your profile names and handles appear the same way your name appears on your resume. It’s an easy way to look professional and ensure a hiring manager who is looking at your profiles that they’ve found the right person.

Follow relevant groups and organizations.

It’s possible that a hiring manager will also take a look at the organizations, people, and groups you follow on social media. Make sure that who and what you follow reflects your professional goals and values. Following organizations relevant to your field and the jobs you’re applying to is a great way to stand out from the crowd and put yourself at the top of the candidate pile.

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