By Jim Wong, CPA | April 2, 2013

Technology’s role is growing in the job search. Hiring managers not only review your resume, they also Google you and scope you out on social media. Just like you check to see if a company is on Facebook or Twitter, they check the same.

Why? Because with social media, they can get a fuller picture of the person behind the resume. For example, if you have an open Facebook page, hiring managers can see where you volunteer, what kind of music you listen to, and what activities you participate in outside of work. It can provide powerful insight into whether or you you’d be a good cultural fit.

“The Internet offers companies a gold mine of information about potential hires — and much of it doesn’t make for a good first impression,” says Leslie Kwoh of the Wall Street Journal.

What Can You Do?
The answer is a lot. Amy Levin-Epstein of offers some tips to polish your presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other social media network you use.

Check Your Privacy Settings
“When in doubt, tighten your privacy settings,” says Levin-Epstein. Delete any incriminating photos or posts that are public. Facebook is a place where people tend to get personal. They post photos and status updates they think only friends can see, but sometimes the whole world can see. Spend a few minutes and check your privacy settings to protect sensitive content.

Keep Your Personality
While you do want to remove incriminating or tasteless photos, don’t erase your personality. If you do, hiring managers won’t learn anything about you, and you might even be doing yourself a disservice if you hide things you are passionate about. Post with caution when sharing anything political or religious. A good rule of thumb is, if you aren’t sure, you shouldn’t share.

Polish Your Profiles
Feature your knowledge base in your industry through the bio sections of social networks. Take a look back at what you’ve posted to be sure there is nothing that will get you in the hot seat.

Hiring managers frown on spelling or grammar errors. They also react negatively to pictures of alcohol consumption, references to doing illegal drugs, posts of a sexual nature, and profanity.

Update Your Profile Photos
Employers will see your face, even if you keep your profiles private. “Choose a flattering headshot or another inviting but conservative pic,” says Levin-Epstein.

Watch what You Re-Post/Share
Often, people see a retweet or share as a personal endorsement and that shows a lot about you. This goes with the previous point to polish your profiles and remove anything that could damage your reputation or credibility. “A hiring manager may start to draw conclusions from this without even meeting you,” says Levin-Epstein.

Sharing content on social networks shows you know how to use the medium, but if you post too much, it also shows you have a lot of time on your hands. Aim for quality over quantity.

Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are the first places to check. Social media platforms are looked at more often by companies when they recruit and hire candidates. Social media can be fun, but the things you say and how you behave can have a potentially enormous ripple effect, and it can easily do irreparable damage to your “real life.” The good news is hiring managers don’t just want to find dirt on you. They want information that could give you an advantage, so if you choose to share content publicly, make sure it works in your favor.

This article originally appeared on Clear Focus Financial Search.

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