Once upon a time, people did dumb stuff without it being immortalised in the metaphorical stone tablets of the internet. Unfortunately, Facebook now knows more about you than you do and if you’re not careful, that stuff is visible to anyone competent enough to type your name into Google.
So, what can you do to avoid your wild drinking habits being visible to prospective employers?
If social media is the immortal stone tablets that attest to human stupidity, then privacy settings are a modern sledgehammer. All you’ve got to do is enable them. To do this on Facebook, follow this simple guide.
Navigate to the little menu drop-down in the top right of Facebook. Then click “Settings”.
Now, just tweak the settings to your liking. It’s even possible to stop people from finding your profile at all. I’d say that the most important setting is the top one. If only your friends can see everything you post in the future, then you should be golden. It’s important to note that this won’t stop people from reading the stuff you’ve already posted.
If there’s no coming back from the tragic social media experiences of your youth, it might be a wise course of action to simply delete all your accounts and start anew. Deleting all your accounts can take a while.
Facebook doesn’t make it easy. The easiest way to get rid of your account is to deactivate it and hope for the best. There are tools available on the web that’ll delete every post you’ve ever made, one at a time, just to be certain that it never resurfaces.
Stop it Before it Starts
Perhaps you’re one of the lucky few who didn’t fake their age to get onto Facebook before they were allowed to. You’ve got an advantage here, you can just not post stupid stuff in the first place. I’m not suggesting that you ruin the fun of social media for yourself. Employers aren’t looking for robots, you’re allowed to post pictures of yourself having fun.
As a general rule of thumb: imagine what it’ll look like outside of context before you post it.
What this means is: don’t get into dumb arguments or post anything that could be misconstrued.
Use Social Media as a Tool for Good
You have the opportunity to share your achievements with the whole world. This doesn’t mean posting to your timeline every time you beat a level in Candy Crush. This means talking about what you’ve accomplished.
If someone looks you up online, what do you want them to find?
It’s easy to track down people online. You’ve got to make sure that if an employer does it to you, they only find positive stuff.
The first step is to perform a detailed audit of your online presence. To do this, you need to think like an employer.
What do they know about you already?
- Your full name
- Your address
- Your email address
That’s a pretty good starting point to find someone online. Try to find yourself using a site like pipl.com. Once you know what employers are going to find, scour through everything and remove anything that casts you in a bad light.
Once you know what’s easily available to employers and have removed anything negative, you can start building. A LinkedIn profile is extremely valuable as the overwhelming majority of employers use it. It’s obviously less prevalent for employers looking for part-time employees, but it can’t hurt.
To summarise: hide the bad stuff, make more good stuff.
You want to seem like a decent person when you get looked up online, regardless of whether it’s true or not. That said, it’s important that you don’t lie.