For years, your Twitter account has had the same funny, but slightly inappropriate handle. Your profile picture is you in a bikini. Or maybe you’re tagged in some photos after consuming a few too many beers (complete with red solo cup in hand).
As the finish line approaches and you realize you have to become a “real adult,” your social media image becomes more important than ever. Your new company isn’t going to care about your following/follower ratio, or how many times a week you post. Before you’re even hired, they’re going to have looked you up and at least done a quick scan of your accounts.
It’s time to accept reality and do some online spring cleaning.
The first thing to do is make sure that the “outside” of your profile looks good. Set your profile photo to one where you look like someone that people would like to hire. That doesn’t mean it has to be your LinkedIn headshot, just make it one where you look like the type of person it would be nice to work with.
Make sure your handle identifies you with your name. As boring as it sounds, it’s time to switch your handle to some combination of your first and last names. It looks professional and is easily identifiable.
Digging a little deeper, it’s now time to get to work cleaning up the content on your pages. Delete questionable posts, unlike all of those Facebook pages that you liked in middle school, and untag yourself from those terrible photos.
Try to keep your personality on your page. If you’re a comedian at heart, don’t delete all of your funny posts. If you love music, don’t take down the links to playlists and videos that you’ve shared.
Instead of making your online presence completely disappear, curate and grow it to something worth remembering.
Try to coordinate all branches of your social media. Have them all work together as a single unit. If you write a blog post for your Tumblr, share a related photo on your Instagram, Tweet the link to it, or even tell your Snapchat friends to check it out in your story.
Social media is one of the biggest tools PR professionals have. If you can’t manage your own, how can your boss expect you to manage a company’s?