When you embark on a job search, you likely will immediately update your resume and spruce up your cover letter template. These are all incredibly important to do, but you may want to go further into your social media. Potential employers may Google you, so go ahead, do a search on yourself and see what comes up. They may do this search prior to interview selection, so you will want to ensure that you are making a good online impression and setting a positive tone.

Privacy, please: Set your Facebook and Instagram to private. Click here for instructions on changing your Facebook settings, and here for instructions on your Instagram settings.

Keep it clean: Make sure that any photos that you have posted or that are posted of you are not in questionable taste. You know which ones I mean. If you would not want your grandmother seeing it, you should not want it out there for potential employers to see. Going forward, when posting photos on Facebook, select the option of photos only being viewable by “Friends”.

Remove any rants: Twitter, by nature, is where you can spout off in 160 characters or less. If you tend to tweet, scroll through and remove anything that could be construed as a negative sound-off, especially if it has to do with your frustrations related to your job, organization, boss or colleagues.

Learn to leverage LinkedIn: LinkedIn is probably the first place that a potential employer will look. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is impeccable. Here’s how:

  • Start with a polished photo. Ideally, use a professional headshot. If this is not feasible, we all have that friend who takes amazing photos. Ask them to take one.
  • Look professional.  Avoid photos that obviously have cropped someone else out, or where you are wearing your favorite sports team gear. Ladies, I love a strapless dress or spaghetti strap as much as anyone, but in a headshot it will make you look underdressed or, even worse, not dressed at all, and that is not the impression you want to make as a professional.
  • You know where you have worked. Others may not. Take the time to write up a blurb about what each company you have worked at does. It helps the profile to flow better, and tells a more complete story.
  • Similarly, do not just list your job titles. Explain, even briefly, what you did in each job. This is your chance to shine and give a narrative of your work history.
  • List accomplishments, awards, volunteer efforts and anything that will demonstrate how talented and passionate you are. Do not be shy. This is the time to showcase what sets you apart.
  • Ask people for recommendations. It helps build confidence in both your work abilities and your relationship building skills.
  • Network, network, network. Some people are better at networking than others. If you are not one of them, take a deep breath, click on the “People You May Know”, and proactively reach out. Not only do higher numbers look better (as stated earlier, it shows that you are adept at building relationships) but some hiring managers that I have worked with will not even look at candidates with less than 500 contacts.
  • Ask people whose professional opinion you trust to give you feedback on your LinkedIn profile. This could include trusted colleagues, former managers, mentors, or a recruiter that you may be working with. They may see things that need improvement or accomplishments that you would be well-served by highlighting.

Your resume is just one piece of the puzzle. Make sure that your social media fits the brand that you are building or have built professionally to ensure that prospective employers view you in the best light.