Social media has certainly become a way of life now. Over the past three to five years you would be hard pushed to meet anyone who doesn’t have a profile on at least one of the popular online platforms. Even my mum is on Facebook and my friends 2 month old already has his own profile!

We have all become used to this new world where living our lives out in a constant online timeline of photos, quotes, comments and likes is the norm, and this can certainly work to our advantage. It has never been easier to stay in touch with a friend in Hong Kong, or follow your favourite sports team results from across time zones. It has to be acknowledged though that our new found warts and all approach to our online privacy could probably use a little management. Things can very easily get out of hand in all sorts of ways. After all in 2014 just over one third of all UK divorce proceedings cited the word “Facebook” bringing a stark new reality to that status field – its complicated.

In an online setting where faceless profiles allow for immediate action without the immediate reaction that a face to face exchange would result in, we can all perhaps be a little blasé with our comments and photos from time to time.

If you are job hunting or looking to develop your career it is vitally important to keep in mind that nine out of ten employers will check your online social media profiles during the hiring process. So, Is your online profile representing you well? Follow the below tips to make sure that you are presenting your best side.

FACEBOOK

1. Messenger vs SMS – As we mentioned above it is easy enough on social media platforms to allow things to get carried away. A group of friends commenting on a photo can sometimes be all too candid. Go through your profile and check what you might have said. As a rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t say it to your interviewers face, don’t put it on the internet.

2. Keep your private life private – When you post a status or picture, there is a grey drop down tab labeled “friends” next to the blue post button. If this drop down actually says “public” then your status will be accessible by anyone. Always make sure that it states “friends” – You can also customise who from your friends list can see your post.

3. Review your posts – To edit your “review posts” settings, click on the wheel on the blue Facebook header. Select “privacy settings” from the drop down box and then “timeline and tagging” on the left panel. Make sure that “review posts that friends tag you in” is ON. This will allow you to review any post or photo that you are tagged in. That way you get to chose whether to authorise it to appear on your timeline or not. If it reflects you in a negative or inappropriate manner than you can make sure that nobody will see it when checking your profile.

TWITTER

1. Use it productively – So much information is shared on twitter it is now an easy way for you to keep up to date with industry news. Follow market leaders and employers, and communicate with people in the same field as you and become known yourself as a market player.

2. Say it out loud – Twitter is a much faster paced platform than something like Facebook and connects you with any number of complete strangers all across the globe. The opportunity to be accidentally inappropriate or get carried away is magnified. Again, would you say this out loud or to your interviewers face. If the answer is definitely not, then think it over before posting.

3. Protected Tweets – As a last resort you can protect your tweets through twitter, this prevents the general public being able to view them or retweeting them. Having said this, if you feel the need to protect your tweets from being seen then you probably shouldn’t be tweeting!

LINKEDIN

1. Keep it professional – Linkedin has revolutionised the hiring process. An online resource full of resumes. How you act on Linkedin is how you act at work. If you post personal posts that are not related to your industry or work you are showing your lack of professionalism. Announcing engagements or sharing holiday snaps are perfect for Facebook but not for Linkedin.

2. Update your accomplishments – Linkedin is almost certainly going to be checked by any potential employer and certainly by any recruitment consultant they might be working with. If your online profile doesn’t match your resume or is incomplete with little detail you are almost certainly going to be overlooked.

3. Network – Linkedin should be used as an easy access intranet for your industry. Other professionals and groups have a presence where resources and articles will be shared. Join appropriate networking groups and be an active member in them.