Lock it Down. Clean it Up.

Applications are in. What sort of dirt will your reviewers find on you from the internet?

Social media presence is an often overlooked part of your image. When you’ve spent hours preparing application materials for graduate school, research experiences, internships, or other opportunities, it just doesn’t make sense to leave dirt on the internet. Don’t let your social media presence get in the way of moving on to your future. We all have friends who get tag-happy or post photos documenting questionable judgment. It takes just a few minutes to clean up your social media identity.

  1. Make a list of all your online accounts. Spiffing up the accounts you post to regularly is good, but don’t forget about the ones you might have created a while ago before you were such a shining example scholarly focus.
  2. Lock it down. Switch all your accounts to private until you have finished the cleanup process. The only judgment people will make for you having a locked-down social media presence is that you’re cautious. Cautious is good!
  3. Clean it up. Think of the most straight-laced person you know, then delete or hide any activity that could wrinkle their nose. Depending on how much of your activity falls in this category, it might be easiest to change everything to private and then select posts individually to share. Clean up should not be limited to photos. Maybe you checked-in at a seedy establishment. Perhaps your crazy uncle shared something offensive. Whatever it is, if it might offend your friend’s delicate sensibilities, get rid of it.
  4. Review all shared material. You can avoid confronting friends who just can’t help themselves from tagging you in photos or other posts by changing your settings and allowing you to review this activity before it goes public. Maybe you should be the only person who can post on your wall?

Once you’ve landed the job or opportunity you want, let your actions build your reputation!