Is your social media safe for work?

Everything you post could be seen by an employer. Find out how to job-proof your profiles.

About 4 mins

Ever Googled yourself? Do you think an employer would like what you see? Because you can bet they’re looking.

Employers are searching for your social media profiles – and they’re using them to decide whether to hire you (or check up on you if you’re in work). Posts like party pics and angry rants might not give them the best first impression.

So how do you keep your social media from putting off employers? We’ve got some tips to help you work-proof your profiles.

Private or public?

Before posting anything online, ask yourself, ‘could this get me fired?’

The first thing to consider is your privacy settings. These might depend on what you're using the account for. For example, you probably mainly use Facebook to catch up with family and friends, but you might be more open about who follows you on Twitter or Instagram.

If you’re using Facebook and want to keep it private, be careful about your settings. There can be several levels of privacy to navigate. Even if your overall account is hidden, you might need to check individual posts to make sure they don’t show up on a search.

You can also set custom audiences, so if you’re friends with people from work, you can decide what posts they see.

If you’re using an account publicly, think every time you post. Take a look back through your timeline for anything controversial.

Tagged

If your friends like to check you in on a night out, think about how that epic pub crawl comes across on your feed in the cold light of day.

Check that anything you’re tagged in on Facebook is only shown to ‘friends’. You can also set your preferences so that you can review any post you’re tagged in before it appears on your own timeline. 

If you’re tagged in Instagram posts, you can hide them from your profile or remove yourself.

Don’t mention your employer

Protecting your privacy on social media isn’t just an issue when you’re job-seeking. It’s important to make sure nothing you say or do online could get you fired from your current job. If you include the name of the company you work for in your profile information, anything you say could potentially be associated with the company.

Use common sense

The best way to avoid a career catastrophe is to use your common sense. Before posting anything online, ask yourself, ‘could this get me fired?’ or ‘could this lose me a job interview?’. If the answer is yes, don't post, and you should be fine.

Expert tips

We asked social media expert Mark Stuart for his tips to keep your profiles work-friendly: