ROBIN WORRALL @robin_rednine

Just about everybody has social media. When you’re in primary school, you likely aren’t thinking about anyone looking at your pages outside of your friends and family. Now you’re preparing for college and that next important chapter in your life. You want to put your best foot forward and that includes reviewing how you present yourself in your social media accounts. What do you do to clean things up?

In this article, Erin Moriarty, Loyola University Chicago’s Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, will help give you the answers to that question so you can be prepared as you go through your college application process and consider future employment options.

Take Down Anything Inappropriate

This may sound obvious, but it’s hard to overstate just how important this is to do. We’re all guilty of daring to express our opinions and sometimes saying silly things. Still, in this day and age, with so many applicants competing to go to college, you have to be careful about your public image. Just because your friends and even family think something you posted is funny does not mean that the staffer reviewing your pages will.

Replace Them with Flattering Posts

This requires some forethought and planning ahead of time, but it will work wonders for you if you maintain it. All you need to do is to actively post things about interesting hobbies and activities that set you apart from the crowd. It doesn’t have to be out of character. Simply focus on those things that put you in the best light possible and that highlight your passions and interests.

Change Usernames and Emails

Most people your age came up with their usernames when they were a kid. “xXMonsterTruckH8erXx” may have sounded cool back in the day, but it comes across as unprofessional in the real world. Create a new username that properly reflects the adult that you are. Use your real name in the email or, at the very least, something that doesn’t sound childish.

Create a LinkedIn Page

Now that you have a more professional username and email, it’s time to use them to create a page on LinkedIn to reflect your skills and interests for your future employers and the current college to which you applied. This is not like other social media. You should only use it for things that relate in some way to your skills or work. Highlight your academic accomplishments, post about all those extracurricular activities and after-school jobs you’ve been doing. Fill your page with exciting content that will show your future colleagues and employers that you’re a good fit for their environment.

Delete or Hide Inactive Accounts

For pages that you no longer want to maintain, you should make it so that they are not visible to anybody. This will save you time and effort, as depending on how active you are online, you may not want to have to sift through the history of every single one, clean them up, and then actively use them. Simplify your workload so you can maintain a cohesive online image.

Keep Up the Work

Once you have spent the time to update your accounts, keep up the positive work. This is a great opportunity to show your maturity and to allow you to build up even more quality posts on all your pages as you move through your college experience. This can help others see the potential in you as you seek internships, research opportunities, and future employment.

In the age of social media, you can’t afford to be too careful. Always make sure that you are keeping up a professional appearance so that your future colleagues and employers have the confidence in you to accept you.

About Erin Moriarty, Loyola University Chicago

Erin Moriarty, Loyola University Chicago’s Associate Vice President and Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, is passionate about students. She believes strongly in Loyola’s mission – to help mold young men and women to become leaders in today’s society and to seek God in all things. Outside of work, Erin can be found participating in Pedal the Cause or biking along the shores of Lake Michigan.