Your resume is no longer just on paper. Because companies are increasingly likely to look at your online profiles, your social media accounts should be in tip-top shape.

No matter your state of employment, even when you’re not actively in search of a job, your resume needs to stay in tip-top shape. That resume isn’t just on paper, it’s online, too—because companies are increasingly more likely to peruse your profiles, your social media accounts are the true first impression.

Whether you’re content in your current position or the owner of your own business, having an accurate and professional social media presence will allow you to develop your brand, get the attention of prospective employers and clients and maintain your reputation within your industry.

Here’s how to do so:

1. Nail your bio

Do you know how to describe who you are and what you do in 140 characters or less? That’s what Twitter asks of you. Utilize keywords, get to the root of what you do, demonstrate your passion and area of expertise and express how you provide value. From the witty to the informative, make sure you’re standing out and showcasing your personality.

On LinkedIn, your professional headline is just as important to your personal branding. Make sure that it says more than just your current job title; express your full competency.

2. Regularly update vital information

If your Twitter bio hasn’t changed since you created your account two years ago, or you haven’t looked at your LinkedIn profile since college, it may be time to refresh. You don’t have to constantly update the answer to Facebook’s question, “What’s on your mind?” (nor should you), but you should make sure you’re staying on top of life changes, keeping job descriptions current and sharing relevant content.

Check in on your social networking accounts periodically to take a pulse on how they’re reflecting you as a professional and as a personal brand. You might want to use a tool like Reppler to help evaluate your social media presence under a professional lens.

3. Shamelessly post and pin

It does you no good to shy away from sharing your work online. Pin your resume. Post your portfolio on your Tumblr. Don’t miss an opportunity to flaunt your skills, interests or point of view. Potential clients, employers and industry experts are on the lookout for new talent and thought leaders.

4. Tame your image

Go ahead, Google yourself—you can be sure prospective clients and employers will be. It’s not vain, it’s smart; what’s out there about you isn’t completely composed of what you post on your social media accounts.

Keep tabs on your online presence and manage it before it manages you. Are there any photos on Facebook that aren’t particularly professional or social media resume-friendly? Facebook’s recent changes have made profiles more easily searchable; it’s essential that yours accurately reflects how you want potential employers and clients to view you. Make sure to take a good look at your tagged photos, or use a tool like Pendaflex’s Tag Tamer to filter your Facebook timeline and make sure any potential untamed photos aren’t revealed. A picture says a thousand words—make sure they’re all positive and that no one’s judgement is cast based on an inappropriate photo from your college days.

5. Go public

With that being said, personally, I’d rather hire or work with someone with drunken photos on Facebook than someone with a blocked account. Transparency is one of the keys to a successful social media presence. Opening yourself up demonstrates that you’re a trustworthy professional with nothing to hide. Allow your LinkedIn profile to be public so that it shows up in search.

Who you are in your professional field should be who you are in life—there’s a fine line between being appropriate and being fake. Being unique is the best thing you can do to give you an edge online. So from your LinkedIn headline to your tweets to your Tumblr portfolio, make sure you’re being you on social media.

(Disclaimer: Pendaflex is a client of Likeable Media.) 

Dave Kerpen is the Co-Founder and CEO of Likeable, an award-winning social media agency, and author of New York Times Bestseller Likeable Social Media and the new book Likeable Business.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.


  1. Joe

    This isn’t exactly a criticism, because I know it’s wise to remove questionable content from a Facebook profile… and I also know that going public with that profile is seen as a gesture of transparency.

    But let’s be honest – doing both at once? That’s the polar opposite of transparency. I can’t get over how fake social media branding seems sometimes. It’s like we’re all turning into snake oil salesmen.

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    a very good article, now to find a job is hard, your post has nails driven me quite a lot, thank you.

  4. Hildegard von Knittin

    I’m in the recruiting industry. Drunken photos definitely send a red flag; anyone looking for a job would be foolish not to take those down, or hide them. Better yet, create an alternate identity for the fun stuff and keep the “work” stuff separate.

  5. Career Coach,

    Great tips, particularly #2! It’s easy to let those social networking sites gather a bit of dust, but keeping them up to date is an excellent idea.

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