By Ashley Stahl, Originally Published in Forbes

It’s probable that over the course of your time on social media, whether on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or even Snapchat, you have posted something with the security of knowing only your friends and followers can see. Unfortunately, in a world overrun by technology and social media, you don’t have as much privacy on the internet as you may think, and your online presence can even have an effect on your work prospects.

Nearly all employers (93%) said they would absolutely search your social media accounts during the interview process. So if you’re suddenly worried about that meme you shared last week, don’t worry — there are ways to clean up your online presence, and even cultivate it to be impressive to prospective interviewers.

Here are three ways to learn how to make your online life actually work in your favor.

1. Cultivate a brand.

Branding yourself on the Internet might take a bit of hard work, and a lot of deleting old college photos. However, if you work at it, your online brand can become a huge benefit to your ‘real life’ brand.

Start by Googling yourself, and removing any information you consider detrimental (it’s as easy as reaching out to the site hosts and asking them to take the information down). Create an online portfolio or website that encompasses a theme you use on your other social media accounts. Your theme and brand can be broad or specific, depending on your interests, but you should be consistent across your public social media platforms.

2. Use social media to network and make connections.

Social media doesn’t have to just be for chatting with friends and sending them cute puppy videos. It’s also a great platform to connect with potential business connections. Sites like LinkedIn are specifically targeted to people looking for work connections, but use those savvy social media skills on other sites, too.

Twitter is also a great place to find like-minded individuals, whether they are peers or professionals in your desired field. Research them, and shoot them a Direct Message — you never know if someone will be your next big connection.

3. Be aware, and be smart.

Understand that even if a social media platform purports itself to be private, nothing on the Internet stays that way. You have no control over who screenshots your tweets or Facebook posts. Even posts you consider fleeting, such as your Snapchat and Instagram stories, can (and will) be found by a potential hiring manager who digs hard enough. Realizing that your online presence is more visible than you initially thought is a good step in deciding what to post, and what not to post. It’s easy to go on that Twitter rant about your old boss — but that definitely won’t look good to your new one. Just be smart about what you post, and don’t forget to comb through your accounts for anything you don’t want seen.

For a FREE course to land a new job you love, launch your dream business, or find your purpose, visit  


  • I'm a career coach, keynote speaker, podcast host (You Turn Podcast) and author, here to help you step into a career you're excited about and aligned with. This may look like coaching you 1:1, hosting you in one of my courses, or meeting you at one of workshops or keynote speaking engagements! I also own CAKE Media, a house of ghostwriters, copywriters, publicists and SEO whizzes that help companies and influencers expand their voice online. Before being an entrepreneur, I was an award-winning counterterrorism professional who helped the Pentagon in Washington, DC with preparing civilians to prepare for the frontlines of the war on terror.