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Looking For a New Job in the Professional Sector? The Privacy Settings You Should Set on your Facebook

Nowadays everyone has a Facebook account, from celebrities to politicians to probably even your grandmother. Social media sites are becoming more and more popular as people continue to look for new ways to connect, interact and share pictures with each other. Although Facebook might seem harmless, this is not always the case.

Among the 350 million plus users on Facebook are employers – in fact, research suggest that prospective employers now use Facebook more than LinkedIn as a hiring tool (LinkedIn being the business-oriented social networking site designed specifically for this purpose). An even scarier fact is that these employers routinely using Facebook to check out prospective candidates’ Facebook pages, and even worse, reject them based off of the content found on those same pages.

And the numbers of employers getting onto Facebook is only rising. Companies have found it very easy to determine whom a person really is (beyond the interview and their resume) by looking at their Facebook. Most people, especially college students, use Facebook very liberally and are unaware that their future could be based off of the content on their pages.

When applying for a job or internship in the professional sector, it is of utmost importance that you change some privacy settings on your Facebook page before submitting your resume.

1.   Do not have an open profile. If you have an open profile, it means any Facebook user can look at your profile, pictures, information whether they are friends with you or not. This might mean that an employer could stumble upon a not-so-decent picture of you from a high school party. It is best to make your profile private.

2.   Block everyone from seeing your pictures. Make sure your pictures are blocked on Facebook (including your profile picture). No matter how appropriate you think a picture is, an employer may view it in a very different light. Also ask any of your friends or family members who are on Facebook to delete any inappropriate pictures they have of you – this includes pictures of you drinking or abusing any substance, smoking cigarettes, and dressed inappropriately.

3.   Delete any bad-mouthing. As a professional, of course you won’t have done this anyway, right? But if you’re human and have ever written anything bad on Facebook about a prior client, colleague or boss, delete it immediately! This includes posts on other people walls, information in your profile, etc. Employers will look for these types of posts to figure out the type of person you are, and either way, you never know when that kind of material will come back to bite you.

4.   Poor communication skills. Employers judge the way you write, whether that be posting on someone’s wall or the interests you have listed in your information. Although Facebook is a relaxed environment where many people use slang, employers will not hire someone who can’t spell properly/use correct grammar.

5.   Dont talk about drinking, partying, etc. It is very unlikely that you will get hired if an employer finds you posted on a friends wall about how drunk you got last night or how someone had to carry you out of the bar the night before.

6.   Dont lie about your qualifications. Employers can easily find out through your Facebook profile that you weren’t actually the captain of the debate team.

7.   Be wary of what you are a fan of. Facebook has added many applications since it was first introduced. One of these being a “fan” page. Be careful of what you list yourself as a fan of… for example, it’s probably best to take down the link to FHM’s 100 Hottest Women list.

8.   Watch what you put in your About Me section on Facebook. Facebook gives its users lots of freedom with which to express themselves, but if you are looking for a job be careful not to abuse this freedom. Of course, it is ok to be yourself unless you include a quote from your favourite rapper with many expletives in your About Me section. Also pay attention to what you put under your interests and activities on your page. An inside joke between you and a good friend might not be so funny to your potential employer. It is also a good idea to take off any links to any other social networking sites you may be on such as Twitter and Myspace unless you are OK with an employer looking at them as well. Same goes with linking to personal blogs if you suspect that its content would not be seen in the best light by professional recruitment personnel.

9. Consider deleting your Facebook for a little while. It may be difficult to live without, but de-activating your Facebook for a month or two while you wait to hear back from employers is the safest way to ensure prospective bosses won’t screen you based on the content on your Facebook page.

Jacquie provided this article for us for free. When she isn’t working herself, she can be found relaxing in her catnapper recliner and wasting time on Facebook.

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3 Replies

  1. Wow!!! This is so important!!! I’ve never thought about this before!!! now I’m going to change my security settings!!!

  2. we can’t trust anyone these days. thanks for letting us know those things, and open our eyes!

  3. yep, I always search for people that i interview on facebook, it’s like a secret reference check and it shows me that they’ll get along with the team

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