Collegiates, Clean Up Your Social Media

Getting Ready to Apply for a Job? It’s Time to Curate Your Social Media!

By NAfME Member Paul K. Fox
© 2019 Paul K. Fox

Portions of this blog-post were first published in the January 31, 2019 issue of the Collegiate Communique sponsored by the PMEA State Council for Teacher Training, Recruitment, and Retention.

Have you ever gone on the Internet and searched for your name? Have you assessed what your image (and “personal brand”) say about you on all the social media platforms?

social media | Uropong


According to a McAfee family safety blog, in anticipation of future employers researching you and everything with your name on it, you should make a concerted effort to “launder” your online presence.

“People are watching you right now. Like it or not — agree with the intrusion or not — you are being Googled, judged, and analyzed by the body of content you’ve posted online. Whether you are applying to a college, for a summer job, or even currently employed, you can bet someone who matters to your future is on your digital trail.”

 – “10 Easy Ways to Clean Up & Curate Your Social Media” by Toni Birdsong

Also recommended by Birdsong, the new “best practice” is to A) clean up any questionable content from all social profiles, and B) design your social content in a way that “reflects your best self.” This means you should delete permanently from Facebook and other platforms:

  • Provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos, or posts
  • Posts or photos that include drinking or using drugs
  • Discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender, etc.
  • Content that complains about a previous employer or colleague
  • Posts that are overly cynical, grumpy, or mean


professional | FangXiaNuo


Instead, your profile information should reflect integrity and responsibility, so you should expand or add content that:

  • Projects a professional image
  • Shows a friendly, positive personality
  • Demonstrates that you are well-rounded, with a wide range of interests
  • Models that you have great communication skills 

“Think the whole ‘future employers checking your social media accounts’ thing is just an annoying urban legend? Think again.

“It turns out that one in three employers have rejected candidates based on something they found out about them online.”

– “How to Clean Up Your Social Media During the Job Search” by Lily Herman

hiring | scyther5


The McAfee blog really does a good job summing up ten steps to a better online presence:

  1. Make a hit list.
  2. Think like the decision-maker.
  3. Streamline your selfies.
  4. Review past blogs.
  5. Google yourself.
  6. Inventory all social profiles.
  7. Edit your Twitter feed.
  8. Secure names and URLs.
  9. Change your online persona – for good.
  10. Start a career-focused blog.

There are many samples for that last tip, my favorite from a former student of mine freely sharing his professional website at (Use “Music” for the password.) David included his resume, philosophy of music education, employment history, and photo/video samples of his teaching . . . a very powerful digital portfolio and marketing/branding technique . . . and of course, he landed his first music teacher job immediately after graduating from West Virginia University!

mobile phone | Drazen


If you need more than ten suggestions or a lot more detailed instructions based on the specific social media platforms, check out “30 Quick Tips to Spring Clean Your Social Media Presence” by Yvonne Dutchover.

Related articles previously posted at this site:

“Employers can learn a lot about you from your resume and interview, but sometimes it takes a little bit more to sell yourself (although there’s a delicate balance between selling yourself and being transparent in the hiring process). Take advantage of the benefits of social media – it’s an often-needed extra step to show what you bring to the table, a way to add flair to your application, and make a lasting impression on your potential employers.”

– “How to Clean Up Your Social Media Presence Before the Job-Search” by Lauren McAdams

“Break a leg” (as they say) at your interviews, and good luck in job hunting!

Add your resume to the NAfME Career Center and maintain your profile, get job alerts, receive career coaching, and more.

About the author:

retiredPaul K. Fox, a NAfME Retired Member, is Chair of the PMEA State Council for Teacher Training, Recruitment, and Retention. He invites you to peruse his “ethics in music education” blog-series (in reverse chronological order) at his website.


Did this blog spur new ideas for your music program? Share them on Amplify! Interested in reprinting this article? Please review the reprint guidelines.

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) provides a number of forums for the sharing of information and opinion, including blogs and postings on our website, articles and columns in our magazines and journals, and postings to our Amplify member portal. Unless specifically noted, the views expressed in these media do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Association, its officers, or its employees.

Catherina Hurlburt, Marketing Communications Manager. April 16, 2019. © National Association for Music Education (


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