Social Media Lockdown

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69% of Recruiters Have Rejected a Candidate Based on Online Searches.


September is all about helping you, our student followers, in your job hunt. These tips are also important for anyone who has an online footprint and is job searching.

As so much of our lives are lived online, it is important to not only think about how you show up in person but also what can be found online.

(For in person branding tips, check out tips for standing out at a recruiting event and how to prepare for your interview )

A Mashable study found that 91% of recruiters check out candidates online. Of those, 69% had declined a candidate based on what they found online.

Students: don’t freak out and delete your entire social media presence. On the flip side, the good news is that 68% of recruiters have hired a candidate based on an online audit. (Recruiter readers, click HERE for tips on completing legal online searches ).

Today’s post & a special Wednesday post will focus on how to lockdown your social media presence & how to build a LinkedIn profile.

5 Tips to Create a Thoughtful Online Presence:

We sometimes don’t have a choice where someone “meets” us first. It is as important to be as thoughtful in dress, speech, activities with your ONLINE presence as it is OFFLINE.

1. Complete an Audit

Check out your online presence on each platform. Lockdown information you don’t want recruiters to find. Think about your purpose in using each platform and consider who has access to that information.

Complete an audit on a semi-regular basis (I.e. minimum twice a year) and especially after platforms change their privacy settings.

Think of Foursquare (location based) and Facebook (close friends/daily life sharing) as being more locked-down than Twitter (largely open network) or LinkedIn (to highlight your professional capabilities).


The best way to see the results of your privacy settings are to have a 2nd set of eyes check out your account. Sit with a friend, “unfriend” each other, and then check out what you can see with on each other’s accounts.

2. Think BEFORE Sharing

Research shows that people will disclose more personal information online than they will face-to-face. Remember that 100% of social media is permanent.

Think before you tweet, facebook, check in, instagram … especially in social settings. Especially if the social setting involves some bevies!

Also consider about the integration between platforms. For example: should that Instagram photo of you chugging a beer be shared out with your Facebook & Twitter networks? Remember twitter is largely an open network and thus your tweet is searchable.


Choose relevant platforms to be found. Hide the Rest. Utilize privacy settings thoughtfully. Think before you post.

Understand why recruiters have rejected candidates & do not have such information available:
Recruiters Declining Candidates

3. Check Privacy Settings Often

Privacy settings change regularly. It’s up to you to check.

4. Control How You Show Up In Searches

Even if you lock down your Facebook account (which I HIGHLY recommend), think about what shows up in searches.

If your profile photo is of you in a bikini doing a keg stand (trust me, I have seen this!), do you want this to be a first impression?

Use different photos for different platforms. Glamour shots don’t have a place on LinkedIn but might be totally fun for Facebook or Instagram.

Even if you were smart enough to lock down your account so people have to friend you to see your wall/photos/etc, your profile photo typically still shows up in a search – choose wisely! The above example is NOT a good first impression.


Be thoughtful in what shows up even with strong privacy settings. Build a reminder into your calendar quarterly to check into changing privacy policies.

5. Promote Yourself in the Right Places

LinkedIn is increasingly important in a job hunt – even for students.

Check back this Wednesday for 5 tips to building a strong LinkedIn Profile. Don’t have work experience? Doesn’t matter. Showcase your volunteer and academic experience in the meantime. Learn how to utilize the new features available on LinkedIn for students.


Read these reasons why a recruiter has hired candidates online & promote yourself in the right ways:
Recruiting Hiring Candidates

Audit Tips:

Use these tips to be one of the 68% of candidates HIRED because of their online presence!

Comment Below: After reading these tips, what will you change about your online footprint?

Source: Mashable – How Recruiters Use Social Networks to Screen Candidates

Chelsea Newton
Chelsea is known as a dynamic and engaging talent consultant and professional speaker. As a Certified Executive Coach, she is extremely passionate about helping people realize both their goals and full potential. Chelsea has worked in 12 countries around the world helping Fortune 500 companies recruit, train, develop, and motivate top talent using cutting edge communication techniques and social media. She is currently developing top talent in the oil sands and speaking across Canada as the founder of Talent Formula.

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