(MoneyWatch) Job-hunters know how important it is to have a great-looking resume and a punchy, informative cover letter. Something else you should keep smart and clean: Your social media profiles. It's common for HR departments and hiring managers to spend some time online, looking up candidates before deciding whether to proceed to the interview stage.
That's why it's a good idea to clean up your public-facing social media profiles. Offensive tweets? Delete them. Inappropriate Facebook photos? Get rid of them, too. In fact, you might want to fiddle with the privacy settings so that only your friends and family can see your Facebook posts.
Don't leave things to chance, though. What does it look like when a random person looks you up on Facebook? Check it out for yourself, so you know exactly what a potential employer is going to see when they Google you.
Thankfully, it's a snap to see your profile the way strangers do. To do that, open Facebook and click the Privacy icon at the top right of the screen. In the dropdown menu, click Who can see my stuff? Finally, in What do other people see on my timeline?, click View As.
After a moment, you'll see the public version of your personal Facebook page -- the way a stranger sees it. You might need to click Okay to clear a dialogue box. After that, you can assess what objectionable content, if any, is visible.
While you're here, you can click View as Specific Person in the black bar near the top of the screen and type in the name of a Facebook friend to see your page the way he or she sees the page. You can't enter the name of a stranger -- if someone isn't connected to you on Facebook, they see the public version of the page that you're already looking at.
When you're done, click the X at the left side of the black bar to return Facebook to normal.
Photo courtesy of Facebook