As if applying for their visa wasn’t nerve wrecking enough, now the US Embassy wants to scrutinize your social media accounts. The Embassy is well aware that many people live two, or more, separate lives.

Regardless, now is certainly the time to revisit what your social media presence says about you and fix up all your bangarang. Look closely at who you are following on social media and what type of images you are double tapping? Those choices you made thoughtlessly point to character issues you may want to keep hidden when applying for a job, a loan and especially that US Visa.

We may also remind you that Facebook tracks your online activity even if you aren’t logged into your account.  Once you visit a website with a Facebook Like button, your browser sends information about your visit to the platform. That means it is not only important to be cautious of your social media activities but also with other websites you visit. Once you hit Publish that content will live forever in the digital space.

Even with these downsides, social media can provide many opportunities when used cautiously. These channels are great places to build a personal brand to impress recruiters and prospective employers, earn an income or promote your business.

While you can take steps to remove negative content from your personal trail, it’s best to refrain from posting such content in the first place. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Use these 5 tips to maintain a reputable social media presence:

  1. A picture is worth a thousand words. Ensure all your images say something positive about your character. If your profile picture displays violence, racism, aggression or nudity, replace it with a professional headshot. Pay attention to your cover photo as well.
  2. Fill your About section with things you want to be known for.
  3. Consider cleaning up your ‘friends list’ and ‘liked pages.’ Remove all accounts that might be considered suspicious. (You aren’t close to many of these people anyway).
  4. You may also want to remove yourself from groups that share offensive content. Also check your “Tagged Images” regularly to avoid being associated with negative content.
  5. Finally, declutter your news feed. Many of us don’t remember what we posted five or six years ago, but we can still be held accountable for them. Sort and remove all incriminating visuals and vulgar/grumpy status updates.

We sincerely hope these tips help you polish your social media presence and increase your chances of success in your career and life. You can still showcase your personality, of course, but do so in a professionally manner. That means you can keep the picture with your wild friends at your college graduation but please remove the video gyrating with your 2nd year crush. Avoid sensitive topics like religion, politics, alcohol consumption, abortion and other tinder box issues. While it is often tempting to share your views, it’s not worth the Like to get dragged in social media.