You’ve spent the past four years connecting with “friends,” archiving pictures of fun football game weekends, and joining as many outrageous groups as possible. As you begin your job search, have you really thought about what your Facebook profile says about you? If you didn’t “friend” your Mom or Aunt Lulu because you were afraid of what they’d think, then your profile probably isn’t employer “friendly” either. To ensure that your Facebook page isn’t hampering your job search, consider these top tips:
1. Privacy Settings: Make sure that your privacy settings do as much as possible to ward off unwanted readers. Even if you think no one will read your page, set your privacy settings so that only your friends can see what you are posting. If you have a large network of “friends” who may not be very close to you, consider limiting your settings even furthering by determining only select friends who can read your wall or view your pictures.
2. Groups, Fans, Links: Review the groups, fan pages, and links connected to your profile. Check for anything with inappropriate content or negative connotations. For example, the group “Industrial Designers do it all night long in Wallace Center” isn’t going to send the best message to potential employers. Take off anything that might be seen as a potential negative. If you are on the fence about something, play it safe and take it off.
3. Pictures: Employers definitely do not want to see pictures of your nights on the town so evaluate the message you pictures send. You may not be a party animal, but if all of your pictures show you hitting up the clubs, then employers may not know that this is a once a semester occurrence. A rule of thumb on pictures: if you don’t want your mom to see them, take them off because you probably wouldn’t want employers to see them either.
4. Wall Postings, Blogs: Before posting a status update or commenting on a friend’s wall, think about what you are saying. Posting in haste can definitely come back to bite you in the future. You may not remember posting that racy comment last spring, but employers can read it and won’t be impressed. The same goes for blogs. Only connect your blog with your Facebook page if the blog is professional or career related. Employers don’t want to see your rants about your messy roommates or how romantic your date was last night.
Even though Facebook is mostly used as a fun way to connect with your friends and family, it is not immune to the eyes of employers. Think about the message your profile sends and evaluate carefully if this is how you want to be presented. Don’t lose out on your dream job offer because you just had to post those pictures of you karaoke-ing with the girls during spring break.