Clemson Center for Career and Professional Development

Career Development & Recruiting

Using Social Media

Protect Your Professional Image

Many students have job-hunting hopes dashed because of their pages on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Moreover, many students seem surprised that their Facebook content has been viewed by prospective employers. In fact, companies are Googling candidates as a normal part of their screening process. A survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers NACE Journal found that 34.6% of employers reported researching candidates online. A survey by found 63% of hiring managers have admitted to not hiring someone based on the information they found online. Everyone needs to start managing their professional image even before they become professionals. Items that are placed on your web pages online may linger around in search engines for some time, even after they have been removed from your online pages.

Students must take ownership of their online identity and plan to not only protect their professional image but also learn to manage their online image by taking the following steps.

Clean Up Your Image

  • Make sure only your security settings on any social media is at the highest settings and do not put anything out there that could reflect badly on you.
  • Remove any past posts or images that may portray a negative image to potential employers.
  • Ensure your posted comments in blogs and on your friends' "walls" present an image you intend to project toward employers.
  • Police the comments your friends leave on your site and make sure the comments and pictures they present match with the image of yourself you are trying to project.
  • Disassociate from any groups that would have a negative impact on your job search.
  • Consider using a reputation management tool such as RepNUp ( to help you clean up your social media accounts.

Build Your Professional Image Online

  • Google yourself to see what prospective employers can find out about you.
  • Click here to download and complete the Personal Internet Presence Self-Audit
  • Use tools such as blogs to positively discuss your career goals, search, etc.
  • Take advantage of social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook to network with professionals in your target industries or career fields. Don't ask them for a job but, rather, ask them about their job. You want them to get to know you and refer you to someone they know who has a job.

Acknowledgements: These guidelines adapted from Payn, S. Job Postings, Will the Internet Wreck Your Job Hunt?, January 2008, pp. 18 – 19 and Shea, K. and Wesley, J., NACE Journal, How Social Networking Sites Affect Students, Career Services, and transaction as part of the application process or to use their personal accounts to conduct company business.