girl on laptop

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have taken over our lives – and not in the best way. Yes, thanks to social media we can now show off how great our lives are – Instagram-worthy pictures of our tasty meals, and “aren’t you jealous of me?” vacation photos fill our screens. But sometimes we reveal a bit too much. Photos from last night’s insane party to and unsavory remarks about work could actually be hurting our career.

While social media gives us more access to each other’s lives than ever before, it’s important to remember to clean up our online presence to project our most professional image. Here are five simple tips to establish an ideal online presence.

1. Keep your work and private life separate on social media. 

Breaking news, what’s trending – it can all be a bit overwhelming. Why wouldn’t we want to show off our knowledge of what’s going on in the world? While we may have a strong view on something – political, religious, and so on – be aware that anything you post online can be viewed by anyone.  Think twice before posting something controversial because it may come into conflict with your professional interests later on.

2. Have a different password for EVERYTHING.

No, “password” is not clever, but it is more likely to get you hacked than anything else. Although it may be a pain, come up with multiple passwords for your accounts. Even something that makes absolutely no sense, like “#Se2gsa” will make it that much harder for anyone to access your account. Yes, it’s a pain trying to remember all these ridiculously complicated passwords, but you’ll be glad that no one is sending spam from your emails or posting embarrassing Facebook statuses on your behalf.

3. Remember that profiles are public. 

Have you ever wanted to be a reality TV star? No? Well, even so, thanks to social media you basically are one. And that means using your profile to project the best version of yourself is key to success. Don’t underestimate the power of profiles. Showing off your confidence by listing all the fantastic skills you have can really impact whether an employer even takes a second glance at your resume. A witty description of your professional assets won’t hurt either – in fact, it’ll show off your creativity and passion for your interests.

4. Your profile picture matters more than you think (it’s not just about the likes).

Trying to increase those likes on social media? Whether you’re a fashion blogger or book lover, taking the right photos can show off what you’re passionate about. Make sure to take a professional photo of yourself (which means no red cup in hand). Nothing tells an employer you’re professional like using a photo that says “hire me” instead of “hot mess.”

By taking steps to protect your digital rep, not only will you have control over how others perceive you in a professional light, but it can also open up new opportunities. While protecting your digital reputation can be a bit tough at first, monitoring your posts will eventually become routine. In a society that values social media more than ever, it’s essential to build a digital reputation you can be proud of!