Safeguarding Your Personal Brand for the Job Search

Learn how to protect the privacy of your personal, social accounts.

Just when you thought your online brand was safe!

Facebook recently announced it removed a privacy feature allowing users to control whether their name populated in search results. While Facebook says the change will only affect a small percentage of its 1 billion global users, it could mean new risks for the personal brands of millions. In the wake of this change, reflect on the state of your social accounts and safeguard your professional brand.


Visit the Privacy section of your Facebook account to adjust your account settings. Limit the audience for posts you’ve previously shared with friends of friends or Public and adjust the audience of future posts to Friends. Turn Off the setting at the very bottom of the Privacy Settings and Tools section that would allow other search engines to link to your timeline.


Many turn to Pinterest when organizing projects, events, or outfits. As a result, your Pinterest boards probably have little or nothing to do with your career. If your boards are dedicated to recipes, DIY crafts or items for your “dream closet” rather than displaying your portfolio of work, switch Search Privacy to Yes in the Settings section.


This app is a great way to share your latest photos and videos. By default, your account is set up so that anyone on Instagram can view your profile. Limit your exposure to only approved followers by tapping on the icon in the lower-right corner of your profile. Tap Edit Your Profile next to your profile picture, then select the opt for Posts are Private by checking a box or toggling the switch to On (depending on your device).


Everyone with a Gmail account automatically has a Google Plus account that’s searchable on the web. While this can be a great tool to demonstrate professional expertise, share news and ideas, and brainstorm with other thought-leaders, it first has to be filled out and aligned with your professional brand. Avoid entering information that wouldn’t belong on your resume, such as your relationship status and the dates of experience or education 15 years prior. To limit who can view various sections of your account, check out Google+ Help Community.


You CAN reap the benefits of Twitter for your job search without aligning your profile with your professional brand. If you’d prefer to use your account for off-color rants about a despised football team, check the Protect my Tweet box. This is in the Security and privacy section of your account’s Settings. As a result, people must request your approval to follow you; Tweets will only be visible to your approved followers.

To be extra cautious, change the name on your personal accounts to a nickname. You can also enable the Do Not Track function in Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer, and you will not be tracked across the web.