Pictures of your wild party days (even if they are before you got all sensibly married and became a mum), inappropriate language and ‘I hate xxx’ groups you support…they may seem like a good idea at the time, but when you’re looking for a new job they could be lethal.

According to a recent survey of recruiters and those in recruiting positions by Reppler, 91% of respondants use social networking sites to screen prospective employees.Unsurprisingly, 76% of them use Facebook, 53% use Twitter and 48% use LinkedIn. So, if you’re known for being tactless, opinionated and politically incorrect, you should consider giving as little public access to your profiles on social networks as possible. We recently wrote about blocking people from following your tweets on Twitter, but this probably isn’t a good tact if you don’t want to upset a potential employer.


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Don’t get boring and fake – your friends and family will think you’ve had a personality transplant! Plus, if you’ve been using the social networks for a while, a keen recruiter could trawl through months, even years of your comments and will start to smell a rat!

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Kill the evidence – Before you start applying for jobs, delete any posts that could cause embarrassment if questioned about them by a potential employer. Things about sports, politics, sex or religion in a derogatory form are a no go.

Look professional – anyone who is looking for a job who doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile is missing a trick. This is the one place that you can really shout about your achievements and look like you know everything about your sector. Get recommendations from like-minded people, and join all the important looking groups about your area of work. Don’t forget to add a useful comment or two, too, for good measure!


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If you work in a typically sexually discriminatory industry, you may have to park those cute kiddie pictures. It might even be an idea to remove your relationship status. It sounds wrong – and it is – because in a just and ideal world, everyone would be equal, but as we all know, sex discrimination is still occurring, and you should protect yourself from it as much as you can.

You may say that you wouldn’t like to work with an organisation that practices sex discrimination, but it may just be the recruiter who has an issue, not the organisation, and once you’ve landed the job of your dreams, you can always put the pictures back up.

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The easiest way to manage who sees your social media profiles is to block access to anyone who isn’t a confirmed friend…but what would you do if you get a request after the first round of interviews? Food for thought…

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