Why cleaning up your socials is important to job search

You’ve applied for your dream job, submitted the most awesome resume and cover letter. You nailed it! … or so you thought. Crickets! What went wrong? It could be a variety of reasons (check out our blog on why am I getting rejected), but one is completely in your control. Employers and recruiters, can and do check out your social accounts. Coming across a photo like the poor man below, is not going to do you any favours!

Therefore as part of your preparation to job search, you need to look at your socials and see what an outsider sees.


Cleaning up the socials – your visibility

Does your profile need to be public, or can you hide more? LinkedIn should be as public as possible so recruiters and employers can find you. But your personal Facebook, can it be fully locked down? Even when you do a lock down, do note profile and cover photos including historical photos can stay visible. If you’re not sure what others see, there is a view as public option, but an alternative is to ask in a group for what people not connected to you can see, and maybe get them to screenshot.

In 2023 the lock profile feature is more restrictive so only the current cover photo and profile photo are visible, and even they can’t be enlarged.

Unfortunately, doing a full profile lock may mean you won’t be able to get into groups like job search groups, because we won’t be able to see if you’re a real person!

Watch things like ‘likes’ and groups you are in

A group you joined for a joke and a laugh may not be so funny if an employer finds it offensive. Likes and groups can be visible.  There are privacy settings which can limit your likes to only being seen by you, or you can remove those likes maybe you’ve outgrown (or can live without while you job search).


Think before you speak on socials

Especially when speaking publicly on your own profile (on Facebook the world icon shows), on pages, or in groups (even if a private group), and YES, even in personal/direct messages (PM/DM), think before you speak. Angrily typing and flicking a message off may feel satisfying for 5 minutes. Will it still be satisfying if the message screenshot goes viral and ends up in the hands of your prospective future employer? Don’t let a bad day have a flow on effect to your future.


Cleaning up Facebook

Go through what others can see and delete any adverse content. Editing a post can be an option, but the comment or post may show as edited and may see the reader click to see what was edited. Deleting removes from the public eye.


Even consider things like posts with young children. Keep them in your private photos for friends and family, but consider if you with your 6 month old baby as a profile photo, is helping or hindering your cause when it comes to job search. You may take the view if an employer won’t hire a young parent, then you wouldn’t want to work for them anyway, or you could take the view, don’t get judged before you get a chance to showcase how awesome you are. Your approach is totally up to you.  


Your location

Most socials have location displays, some or all of the time. What you choose to display may be limited or may be open.
I find it interesting running a local Facebook group how few people actually say they’re from Penrith or Blue Mountains.
With the exception of applying for a local role, leave out your address in your resume. People can and will judge you based on your location. When I worked in the Sydney CBD, some of the Northern Beaches and Eastern Suburb people thought Western Sydney was Balmain. They didn’t venture past there, and in some extreme cases looked down on people from ‘way out west’.                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Apart from snobbery (your address is deemed too rich or poor), the bigger issue, especially in somewhere like Sydney, is reliability. If you have to travel a long way for work, you will be at risk of being judged as unreliable. Let you be the judge of that by removing your address from the resume. However if you are relocating or recently relocated, explain why you’re motivated to live and work in your new location in your cover letter. To extend this you may update your social location temporarily to the generic option like the people below do.                                                                                                                                                                                           

This was the locations of the members of the Job Search Penrith and Blue Mountains group on Facebook (during June 2020). Under 2% of members openly identify on Facebook as being from the area even though most are!

Location Numbers Percentage
Sydney 7067 93.3%
Penrith 43 0.6%
Blue Mtns 87 1.1%
Other 374 4.9%


)Clean up X (formerly Twitter if used

Twitter is often a place for rants and extreme views. It may pay to refrain from this while job searching.

Clean up your other ‘fun’ social profiles

Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, TikTok … whatever you use, make sure the fun is only showing good clean fun!
LinkedIn – time to update and start using effectively
For some industries LinkedIn is a brilliant tool, for others not so much. Rule of thumb, professional roles, working for ‘corporates’ / large businesses, being in any form of management or leadership position, then you should be on LinkedIn. And not should because it’s the done thing to do, but should because it will really help you in your job search!                          
LinkedIn connections and the networks they form are the key to LinkedIn. By connecting with people you previously knew, you connect with the people they know. You never know who knows who! Also don’t think, oh they left the industry, or you left their industry, what’s the point of connecting? People can and do turn up in the strangest places!                                          
Comment on posts from people and businesses you respect. Celebrate their successes, acknowledge their values, sharing your insights to add to the conversation. Show some expertise with well crafted responses, plus create your own posts and articles or thought pieces.                                                                                                                                                                                         
LinkedIn also allows you to signal to recruiters you are looking for work (but please don’t make that your heading, stick with relevant keywords or a ‘buy line’). By ticking ‘Open to work’ your profile photo will get a profile frame showing #opentowork letting people know. There are also jobs directly listed on LinkedIn. Typically there are less applicants than say Seek, but a higher calibre of applicants.



What to do next with your socials? 

Jump on your socials and look at them from an employer perspective. Is there anything you can do to make yourself stand out as a great candidate?

By Jane Tweedy, Founder, How to Job Search


About The Author – Jane Tweedy

Jane is passionate about helping people to succeed. She is keen to support many people with their job search by helping them to sell themselves. Jane successfully helps candidates regain their self belief, apply for great roles and get them!


About How to Job Search

Welcome to the How to Job Search website. Our focus is on teaching you to sell yourself effectively to employers through good communication, a great positive mindset and an empathy of the other person’s need. We also provide the tools to make sure you can stand out … in a good way! If you’re a first time visitor, please take a look around. Our home page is linked here.

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