Straighten Up Your Online Presence

Nothing is a secret in the online world although this gentleman’s photograph should be.

If you have a profile on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other platform, take a look at it and remove any inappropriate pictures and remarks in your profile.

Here is why:

Once a moderately savvy human resources professional or line manager receives your resume and thinks of you as a good candidate, odds are that he or she may look for you online. They will probably start by Googling you.

If you’re on any social network, your profile and stream will show up high on the search. If your profile has inappropriate content, it will make you look bad and, even if you are hired, will probably cost you money in the form of a lower salary offer and a lesser halo around you once you are on board.

Many years ago, a hedge fund manager I know contacted me about a position for a systems professional for his fund. As a new user of social media at that time, I did not think to look up his background on the web . . . my client wasn’t as green as I was and quickly found some remarks my candidate made about trading losses and worried about putting this person in a position where he would have access to his firm’s trading philosophy, model and techniques.

Since social media is still relatively new, there are a lot of unchartered legalities. Many companies discourage their employees from researching potential employees using social networks. However, others don’t. People will look and they will talk  . . . and when people talk, it is because they found something to criticize or make fun of you for.


This is an example of an inappropriate picture in a social network profile:

Even if this was a 20-year-old photograph, if a recruiter or corporate manager sees a picture like this, they will question your suitability for a position with their firm (as well as your sanity).

Remove any inappropriate pictures and, if you have friends with inappropriate pictures of you in their profiles, ask them to delete them, too (Remember, on Facebook and elsewhere you might be tagged in photos that are embarrassing like our bathtub beer friend).

Here is a checklist of things to do to tidy up:

  • Remove any inappropriate pictures in your profile and your friend’s profiles
  • Remove inappropriate comments in your profile
  • Remove strong or radical political views from your profile. While you have a right to your opinion, do you think it is worth costing you a potential job?
  • If you have friends who tend to post inappropriate messages to your profile, you may want to talk to them and ask them not to do so or hide their messages from your stream.
  • Don’t say anything negative about anyone on your page.
  • Young people sometimes talk of “getting wasted” the night before or smoking too much weed. If you have done so, delete those comments.
  • Remember, what you say at age 17, may show up in your stream and on search engines FOREVER.

Your profile should show you in a favorable light to an absolute stranger. Add pleasant pictures and show yourself to the world as a mature, intelligent person.

Once you have cleaned out your profile, you’re ready to start positioning yourself in the mind of an employer or recruiter so that you can use it to market yourself FOREVER!


Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2010, 2012, 2020 



JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter
JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter


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