Social media has undergone a meteoric rise over the past decade and a half. From a niche concept used by computer lovers, it has exploded to reach out to everyone from young children to grandparents. Of course, Facebook is the biggest of the lot and has had an enormous effect on the way we interact, share ideas, view content and more.

But over the last few years it has also become apparent that we are embracing social media, we are yet to fully grasp how it might negatively impact our lives. From privacy scandals, involving the sale or misuse of our private data, to ‘fake news’, online bullying and hate speech, as a society we are still grappling with the downsides of social media and trying to fully understand how it may affect us in the long run.

However, there is another area where social media has started to have an impact: employment. These days getting a job it is about more than just presenting a CV and going for an interview. Our whole lives are played out in images and opinions online, and what you post on Facebook on a weekend is potentially visible by everybody, including your employer. When you’re applying for a new job, remember that your CV and application contain everything needed for someone to find your profiles online.

From embarrassing photos, to old tweets that may be controversial, it is all available to view by potential employers. Of course, you might have nothing to hide, but that still doesn’t mean you necessarily want people making decisions about your career and future based on private and personal information.

The first thing you need to do is make your account as private as possible. Boost your privacy settings and make sure that only friends and family can view information and images. If there are any images, posts or tweets you would rather others didn’t see, then maybe it’s time to have a clear out and delete them.

However, it’s not all bad. Social media can be used in a positive way and can help to boost your chance of getting a job. Specialist business social media sites like LinkedIn give you the opportunity to learn and network with the right people. In fact, your accounts can act to verify information on your CV (this also means you need to be especially careful not to embellish too much).

The groups you follow, contacts you have and content you post can also work in your favour, depending on the industry in which you work. In this regard, it may be worth spending some time curating your profiles if you think it could work in your favour. Post pictures and details about projects you have been involved in, display your work and demonstrate your positive outside influences and activities. This can help to present you as a more well-rounded candidate and help you land your dream job.

The important thing to remember is that these days, whether good or bad, your social media profiles can make a big difference.