Social media has the power to both help and hurt your job search efforts. While it is a tool that can dig deep in finding new vacancies and promoting you as a professional with much to offer, if you present yourself poorly then your job hunt exercise could rapidly crash and burn. Employers use social media to check up on who their prospective employee is outside of the office and you need to give them a positive impression.

Although it might be tempting to have a laugh with friends by posting photos of the night before which involved quite a lot of alcohol, an employer may consider this type of behaviour to not be in keeping with the company culture. It’s for this reason that using the privacy settings in combination to censoring what you post on social media is vital to your success.

Here are 5 things that won’t do your job search any favours if you post them on your social media channels:

  1. An image of you looking like you’ve had one too many, or one of you riding the horse statue in the local town square with a beer bottle in hand.
  2. Using bad language on social media is a big no-no. It could rapidly destroy your desired image as a respectable person.
  3. Venting about a current job or past employer. It’s not the place to wash your dirty work clothes!
  4. Referring to any illegal activity. In your future employer’s mind, you could actually end up sitting in a prison cell instead of at your desk.
  5. Giving your strong political, religious or controversial opinions can cause a bad feeling. It’s highly possible that your views aren’t the same as a lot of other people’s and somebody could take offence.

If you’re at the point where you’re ready to start searching for the job of your dreams, then it’s time to take a good look at your social media presence. In addition, set your privacy options so that nobody can tag you in a photo without you giving approval on each occasion. Also, look through at previous postings to review whether the message being sent is in alignment with the professional image that you want to convey.

Ensure that you take the time to check which other social media accounts you have signed up to and check what content you have added to them.

Lastly, make the effort to Google yourself in case there is something unwanted floating around on the internet. If you find something that you don’t like, email the website and ask the owner to remove the image or reference to you.