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Spring Clean Your Social Media Accounts

Whether you're a job applicant or a long-time employee, what you post matters.

According to CareerBuilder’s most recent annual social media survey, 60% of employers use social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to screen job candidates. Information technology, sales, and financial organizations are the most likely to use this screening technique.

And it’s not just prospective employers checking out applicants: 41% of employers scan their current staff’s social media accounts, and 26% of them have found information questionable enough to reprimand or even let go of an employee.

The bottom line? Whether you’re a graduate looking for a new job or a long-time employee, what you post matters. Take the advice in the UCLA Career Center’s Job Search Strategies and evaluate your accounts and their contents through the imagined eyes of your current or future employer. A few tips:

  1. If a site offers it, use the “View As” feature to see your public profile. You might be surprised by what you’re inadvertently sharing. In Facebook, this feature is on your profile page, next to “View Activity Log” at the bottom of your cover photo. You can also do a “Privacy Checkup” by clicking the question mark at the top right of the page.
  2. Remove (or make private) any photos or videos that could be deemed inappropriate. This might include cutting back on the selfies, especially the ones from that weekend in Cabo.
  3. Review your posts, tweets, and comments for grammar and spelling errors (or other language employers might not appreciate, including political rants). If you write a blog, it’s a good time to review that, too.
  4. Re-evaluate the accounts you follow and retweet. Employers look at your accounts as well as those you follow and friend.
  5. Check that your employment history and other information you’ve posted is consistent across sites. If one site says you graduated from college in 2002, and another says 2012, employers will question it.
  6. Take some time to do a little “branding. Post about your interests and achievements and show employers what your personality could bring to the company’s culture.
    • On LinkedIn, connect with groups and people who share your pursuits.
    • Consider buying your name’s URL (, if it’s not already taken.
  7. Do a search on your name using multiple search engines (e.g., Google, Bing). You might get some unexpected results, and it’s better to know what’s out there than not.

The good news is that, more and more, employers prefer candidates who are using social media, especially if the person is applying for a communications-related position. About 41 percent of the hiring managers CareerBuilder surveyed said they were less likely to interview a candidate if they couldn’t find anything about them online. This was a 6% increase from the previous year.

Some employers will send candidates (and current staff) a friend request if a profile is set to private, so, as always, it’s best not to post anything that you wouldn’t want the world to see.