Each year students are disciplined or expelled from their courses and workers are fired from their jobs due to preventable online behaviour. Recent research found that 70% of job recruiters rejected candidates based on information they found online.

Social media has become an integral part of our online lives, from Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn to Pinterest, Youtube and Instagram. They are a great way to stay connected with friends and family, but do we post too much personal information about ourselves?

Here are some tips so that you can enjoy social networking without the pain of hurting your reputation:

Google yourself. Do you like what you find? If you find something that you aren’t entirely happy about then take the necessary action to get that content removed. Remember, if your social media profiles (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) show up on that search you can change this by adjusting your privacy settings.

Be sure that you know what information you are sharing on the websites that you use, especially on social networks. Most social networking sites will have privacy settings to help you manage the content you share and who you share it with. Be aware that your friends’ content and their settings can also affect your digital footprint.

Before you post that potentially inappropriate picture of your night out, that picture of your friend that they asked you not to share, or that status being rude about your course or employer, ask yourself if you want everyone to see it. Friends, family, lecturers and future employers may all be able to see it. Would you be happy for others to post that type of content about you? Be proud of everything you post online, and remember once it is online it could potentially be there forever.

Have you stopped using that social networking profile or website? It’s a good idea to deactivate or delete your account. This will mean that the content is no longer live and should not be searchable online; it will also remove the risk of your accounts being hacked without you knowing.

Finally, most universities and employers will have a social media policy of some kind. Make sure you know what it contains and the potential repercussions should you breach its guidance.


The internet is the biggest library of archive newspaper reports in the world so a report about a silly youthful mistake can still be found by a future employer unless you have it removed. Removal of content from online search engines only applies to EU (European Union) data so a search conducted in the USA may still list the results.

For details of how you can try to have content removed from Google, Yahoo and Bing, please visit Information Commissioner's Office.


Use this link to try and get your content removed from Google search listings.

Find out more about your professional reputation here.

For further support and guidance email suadvice@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.

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