People born before the mid-1980s may feel fortunate that the internet was not around in their younger days. They do not have to worry about potential employers or future in-laws viewing photos of their spring break adventures or reading posts about wild weekend adventures.
However, most modern young adults can’t leave the past behind them. Their personal history is etched across the internet, there for the world to see.
According to a Career Builder survey, 60 percent of employers use social networking platforms to research candidates. An increasing number of colleges screen applicants via social media as well. In fact, 42 percent report that their findings had a negative impact.
What is a young adult (or the parent of a teen on the brink of adulthood) to do? Deleting all of their current profiles and starting new ones is an option, albeit not a very convenient or popular one. Scrolling through every post, picture and check-in to get rid of the less-than-flattering ones is not very efficient, either.
Internet Reputation Management Software
Another option is allowing someone else to do the work for you.
Enter BrandYourself, an online reputation management service. In a recent promotion, the company is offering a $99 annual subscription for parents to give as a gift to their teen or young adult children. The web-based software flags potentially unprofessional social media posts, which users can then delete at their discretion.
The software uses a lengthy list of words and phrases that employers and colleges might deem unprofessional. It can also scan for social media photos of partying and other behaviors employers may find unsuitable as well as online content ranging from court records to gossip, providing advice on removing or minimizing the visibility of unbecoming information.
If you aren’t sure whether this much effort is necessary, start by increasing the privacy settings in social media accounts. Also consider getting rid of obviously unflattering posts or pictures. Lastly, try Googling your child’s name. Finding out what schools and employers can easily discover on the internet will help you determine if professional assistance is required.