These days, employers are getting savvy and finding new ways to get a more extensive background check on future employees. Facebook profiles have been known to get people in big trouble with their bosses, or turned down for a new job opportunity. Even if you don’t think there is anything bad on your personal Facebook profile, you never know how someone will interpret it. it is super important to make sure you are in control of what information people can see, especially when you are applying for jobs. Here are a few tips to make sure you don’t miss out on your dream job because of your Facebook profile.
- Your privacy settings are vital when using Facebook for any purpose. I recommend that you only share your pictures and personal information with people you have accepted as a friends. If you are applying for a job, you also want to make sure that your potential employer can’t find you. In your privacy settings, you can click the “view settings” link under “Connecting on Facebook”. The first listed item lets you pick who can search for you on Facebook.
- To take privacy to the next level, put your friends into groups. You may want your mom to be able to see the new pictures of yours kids, but not that guy you meet once at a networking event that became your Facebook friend 6 months ago. You can break up your friends into groups, like co-workers, family, book club, etc. Then you can specify privacy settings for each group individually. To do this, follow these friend list instructions.
- I recommend changing your name on your profile. This will make it harder for people to find you. For example, you can change it to your first and middle name, or a nickname instead of your full name. Also, make sure your profile picture is not embarrassing. You can usually see a thumbnail of the profile picture even if you can’t see the profile itself, so it is important that the picture is appropriate.
- Even though your privacy settings might be strong, your friends might not be so strict. This means employers might be able to see their profile wall where your comments could be posted. So if you make a comment on a funny picture your friend posted, that will show up on their wall, and a potential boss would be able to see it. So be careful what you post on your friend’s wall. I also recommend not accepting any new friends during your job search. You never know who people know, and no one wants to get duped into accepting someone as a friend that will pass your information onto a potential employer. Overall, try and be aware of what you are posting. I recommend trying to reduce the number of pictures you post, or refrain from making a lot of comments. By reducing your activity you will not show up in your friend’s wall and reduce the risk of potential misinterpretation.
All of these tips may seem a little excessive, which they are, but for good reason. Why give a potential employer any reason not to give you a chance? It is a small price to pay. Bottom line, whatever you put out on the internet, including Facebook, will be there forever and can be found with a little digging. Always remember that whenever you are posting on Facebook or any other social media site.
Good luck job hunting!