Looking for a new job? Aside from preparing your resume, you may also want to update the privacy settings of your social media accounts, as they may easily give background-checking employers more much information about you than necessary.

In a recent study featured in Science Daily, researchers from Northwestern University surveyed 545 young adults, 90 percent of which were currently looking for a job. Among the participants, 507 respondents confirmed that they regularly use social network sites. The survey was designed to evaluate Internet skills and online privacy awareness.

The results showed that those who had little Internet skills were less careful about their online image, and were not too keen about regularly updating their privacy settings, as compared with those who were more social media savvy. Women, however, were found to be generally more active at maintaining online privacy and security than the men.

“Young people could benefit from understanding the implications of these issues,” says lead study author Eszter Hargittai. “Without adequate privacy settings, inappropriate pictures or comments posted on a social media profile could be seen by an employer and cost you a job opportunity.”

This does not only apply to those who are looking for a job. If you are employed and are friends with your colleagues and bosses on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social sites, you may want to explore your privacy settings and adjust them accordingly.  Remember, social media sites are public online venues. Always be sure of what you share, and be aware of who can see them.

(Photo by Danny Sullivan via Flickr Creative Commons and Facebook)

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