Winter Break is here and it’s the perfect time to get cozy and focus inward. Make some cocoa, curl up in your favorite chair, and settle in for some selfie-reflection.
Breaks from school are great times to look over your social media profiles and make sure you’re using them the way you want to, and in a way that accurately portrays who you are to your friends, classmates, and future employers. Sharing news on Facebook or keeping in touch throughout the day on Snapchat may be second nature for you, a reflex even, which means taking a moment to pause and check in with yourself about how you use these tools is all the more important.
If you already have a strategy for how you use different sites and apps together, checking on your settings and cleaning out some old posts shouldn’t take long. If you haven’t paid much attention to privacy or what you post before, no worries—you can get started in just two easy steps.
Step 1: Google Yourself
When you start applying to internships and jobs, chances are the companies and organizations you apply to will look you up online, either through a Google search or on LinkedIn. Look yourself up to see what they’ll find. Is your portfolio or blog showing up on the first page? Are you mixed in with results for other people with your name? Is there a really embarrassing picture from your high school newspaper up at the top? Never fear! There are ways to strategize your online presence so that your search results are a little more reflective of who you want to portray yourself to be. Check out BrandYourself for some advice and tips to get started. One of the quickest ways is to check your public profiles (like LinkedIn) and make sure you’ve filled it in completely and that the content is up-to-date.
Step 2: Check Your Privacy Settings
Have you ever accidentally texted an inside joke with your BFF to your mom? On most social media apps, that kind of mistake is only a click away. Robust privacy settings make Facebook an awesome tool for connecting with people from all different facets of your life and tailor what you share with who, but if you don’t pay close attention, you could accidentally share content with everyone, even the public.
The best tip is to not post anything online that you wouldn’t want to be seen publicly or by a future employer. Even following that rule, there are probably photos or blog posts that you’d still rather keep to friends and family. So take a moment to check your privacy settings and make sure that your posts are only seen by those they’re intended for. This resource can help you learn how to adjust privacy settings on a variety of social media apps and sites.
With those two steps taken, you’re well on the path toward an intentional social media footprint. Being aware of what others can see, and tailoring your posts to ensure you portray yourself the way you want to, means you’re setting yourself up for networking and job search success in an increasingly connected world.