How to clean up your social media for future employers

How to clean up your social media for future employers

Hidden nasties on social media accounts can land users in hot water and can lead to scrutiny from fellow users and even potential future employers.

It's important to be sure that your online presence is squeaky clean before you apply for a job.

So, how do you make sure your accounts are fit for others' eyes?

Facebook

The first step is to make your accounts private. Under Facebook’s privacy settings it is the option to limit the audience for old posts on your timeline.

This means all posts that you’ve shared publicly in the past, or with friends of friends, will become private. Make sure to set future posts to private and turn on the option to review all your posts and things you have been tagged in before they hit your timeline.

Any posts you don’t want anyone, including your friends, to see, you can change to be viewed by “only me”, which means they aren’t deleted but remain invisible to anyone else.

You can mass alter the settings for old posts, or change them individually (Facebook/PA)
You can mass alter the settings for old posts, or change them individually (Facebook/PA)

You can change the individual privacy settings on your profile so only friends can see certain pictures — or hide old embarrassing photo albums entirely by changing them to “only me”.

Bear in mind, however, that any comments you’ve written on publicly-visible posts – such as those in public groups or on public pages – could still be available for users to find, even after you’ve taken these steps.

You can see a full list of where you’ve posted by looking through your profile’s activity log.

Twitter

Before erasing your tweets, you can save a copy of everything you’ve ever tweeted, should you want a record before it’s gone. Under settings is the tab, “Your Twitter data”. Using this you can request a complete download of your Twitter history.

There are a number of options, including deleting tweets with keywords on Tweetdelete (Tweetdelete/PA)
There are a number of options, including deleting tweets with keywords on Tweetdelete (Tweetdelete/PA)

Once downloaded, you can use a free tool like tweetdelete.net to delete up to 3,200 of your most recent tweets.

Instagram

You can archive a post you’ve shared to hide it from your profile and make it so your followers and other people on Instagram can’t see it.

When you archive a post, it keeps all its likes and comments. To archive a post, go to your profile, tap the post you’d like to archive and tap the three dots in the corner. If you chose to un-archive a post, the post will return to its original spot on your profile.

Archiving old Instagram posts will mean they aren’t deleted but are no longer visible (Instagram/PA)
Archiving old Instagram posts will mean they aren’t deleted but are no longer visible (Instagram/PA)

Google 

Even if you’ve deleted content from any of the sites above, it could still be visible on Google.

The easiest way to see what is popping up when employers search for you is to Google yourself. Some of the top hits are likely to be Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Once you’ve identified what’s showing up, you can decide what you need to hide from the public.

If something still appears on the search listings that has been deleted from a website and you want it removed, you can now apply to Google to remove outdated content.

To request a removal of outdated content visit: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/removals

If you want something removed for privacy reasons, or because you believe it may violate the law, visit: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/legal-removal-request

You can request that Google remove outdated content using an online form (Google/PA)
You can request that Google remove outdated content using an online form (Google/PA)

Also known as the “right to erasure”, the right to be forgotten rule gives EU citizens the power to demand data about them be deleted.

In the case of search engines, Europeans have had the right to request links to pages containing sensitive personal information about them be removed since 2014.

However, in September the EU’s top court ruled that Google does not have to apply the right to be forgotten globally. It means the firm only needs to remove links from its search results in Europe – and not elsewhere – in such cases.

When you make your request, Google will balance the privacy rights of the individual concerned with the interest of the general public in having access to the information, as well as the right of others to distribute the information.

For example, it may decline to remove certain information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials.

More on this topic

Australian studies link social media to eating disorders in young peopleAustralian studies link social media to eating disorders in young people

Wake-up call as research reveals we check our phones 50 times a dayWake-up call as research reveals we check our phones 50 times a day

Facebook and Instagram users report issues accessing social platformsFacebook and Instagram users report issues accessing social platforms

Out-of-control social media - It’s time to check the Silicon SixOut-of-control social media - It’s time to check the Silicon Six

More in this Section

Quiz: Here are four photos – what city are we in?Quiz: Here are four photos – what city are we in?

English council searches for owner of wedding ring left in ballot boxEnglish council searches for owner of wedding ring left in ballot box

What the UK newspaper websites say about the election resultsWhat the UK newspaper websites say about the election results

Couple who bought banana artwork think it will become ‘iconic historical object’Couple who bought banana artwork think it will become ‘iconic historical object’


Lifestyle

Want to be cultured this Christmas? From TV to podcasts to books, Ed Power has the definite list of everything you missed this year - so you can curl up on the couch and catch upThe definite list of everything you missed this year

Artist Ciara Rodgers teaches older people how to rediscover their creativity and regain confidence, says Rowena WalshBrush with art: Discovering your creative side in later life

Furniture, paintings, jewellery and silver are on offer at James Adam in Dublin, writes Des O’SullivanAll set for home run: See what's on offer at the James Adam sale in Dublin

It’s not too late to hunt out a unique gift. Des O’Sullivan previews sales in the lead-up to the festive seasonA flurry of auctions in Munster sets the scene for Christmas

More From The Irish Examiner