Social media can not be ignored any longer. Facebook and Twitter, the two largest, have changed the way personal and professional lives are displayed for everyone to see. Everything you do is now online. You’re kids birthdays are posted online. You’re rants about the election are online. Your college affiliation is online, not to mention all those tailgating party pictures.

But are you taking the necessary steps to protect your social media profile from potential employer prying eyes? According to, 45% of companies screen potential candidates using their social media profile. Of those 45% of companies, they tend to gravitate towards Facebook and Linkedin. Over 29% of those companies look at Facebook first. And 26% look at

Employers Are Screening Social Media Profiles

What do these percentages tell you? That employers KNOW that you are in a more relaxed environment using Facebook with your friends. They venture to Facebook first to find out what the ‘Real You’ is all about. They’ll judge you. They’ll judge your Facebook Wall and comments. They’ll judge your pictures. Is it fair they’re making judgements based on your personal life? No, but then again, life is not fair.

This is the way it works in 2012. If that worries you, then its time to clean up your online reputation.
That is, what does an online search reveal about you? Facebook profiles show up high on Google. So does Linkedin. Every time someone looks at your profile you’re being judged.

“Do they provide a professional appearance?”
“Do I want this individual representing my company, that I spent years building, if his Linkedin profile image has him in a beach tank top and sandals?”

Make no mistake about it. Your online reputation now co-exists with your social media profile.

It’s Time to Clean Up Your Online Presence

If you’ve been under a rock for the past several years, Facebook has found itself in controversy regarding what portions of your profile they make public. They often change your settings without you even knowing about it. One of the most recent was a change in email address. That email you signed up under is now second fiddle to your new ‘’ email account. (Check it under the “About” section and then ‘Contact Info’). Be sure to change it back to your original, default address.

You can prevent those prying eyes by changing your ‘Privacy Settings’ to make sure your profile can only be viewed by those you want.

Next, you’ll want to spruce up your LinkedIn profile. The whole point that LinkedIn was created was to provide a site for social networking for your professional life.

  • Make sure your employment history is up to date.
  • Make sure you have all of your certifications and skills up to date.
  • Change your profile picture if its not up to par.
  • Suit? Tie? Keep the tank tops off LinkedIn.

If you conduct a Google search and see your image not where it should be, then its time to get it off that site. Having a squeaky clean online reputation will go a long way to landing that next big opportunity.

Whether or not you take the right steps could mean continuing to pay your rent or mortgage by being employed or living with mom and dad.