In today’s digital age, first impressions occur long before a human connection is made. With the advent of social media, there are plenty of profiles to peruse, sites to surf and apps to swipe which give prospective employers unsolicited information about a candidate from which to base their first impressions.

With technology and social media changing the landscape of recruitment, comes the need for job seekers to monitor and manage their digital identities. This identity is defined by the way in which you present yourself online through pictures, videos, blogs and tweets. In a culture of digital over share, it’s important to recognize that your name and reputation are connected to your online activity.

Increasingly, employers are using social media outlets as an assessment of how potential employees represent themselves professionally. A recent study by found that over 65% of employers use social media checks in their recruitment process. This forces a mindset shift in not only how we apply for positions, but also how we prepare for interviews. In addition to updating a resume, strategizing on attire, rehearsing responses, also comes the need to manage your social media and the impact it has on your professional image. The Internet has drastically changed the recruitment and selection process, it’s therefore crucial to consider the data you’re putting forth and to be mindful of the message it sends.

Follow these simple tips to optimize your online presence:

  1. Approach your social media with a spring-cleaning mindset.

Scroll through profiles and timelines and delete posts and comments that are not inline with the image you are hoping to portray.

  1. Upload a professional headshot

Use a current headshot and consider your attire as well as the background. Avoid group shots and questionable facial expressions and gestures. Ensure your photo reflects your current professional brand and career goals.

  1. Take control and secure your online presence

In an effort to be strategic with the information you put forth, consider restricting the ability for others to tag you in posts or post to your timeline altogether.

Build an online presence that highlights skills and interests, promotes networking and most importantly, leaves a positive impression on prospective employers.  Your digital identity is an extension of your application, utilize social media and each of its platforms as a means to help, rather than hinder your career success.