An article published in HR Magazine (the most widely read and respected human resources publication in the world) told the story of a physician who didn’t get a job at a small mid-west town hospital because she liked books on witchcraft on her Facebook page. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of Facebook content resulting in lost job opportunities. In today’s age of social media, looking up future employees is the common trend for hiring managers, and as the article in HR Magazine stated, “There is nothing that screams more accurately who you are than a Facebook page.” So how can you clean up your Facebook so it’s appropriate? Here are some suggestions:
Pictures: Should you post those pictures of you and your friends drinking? Pictures of you taking shots, doing keg stands and looking drunk are not good images for employers to see. It’d be very difficult for employers to trust you with important business when they have these images in their heads. If you have to post these pictures on Facebook, be doubly sure that they are private so only your friends can see. Our advice is to play it safe. Do not have any questionable pictures of yours online. Period.
Status/comments: Make sure your status updates are appropriate. Employers can to see what you are posting. If there are any that are questionable, delete them. Comments that should go include: current or past employer bashing and negative comments about people. This also applies to the comments your friends post on your wall and what you post on others’ walls.
Info page: Listing your hobbies is a great perk of Facebook so others, including potential employers, can see what you are interested in. Make sure your hobbies are appropriate (i.e. PG-rated) for everyone. Avoid controversial topics, such as religious and political issues. We have seen college students listing “procrastination” and “smoking weed” as an interest or a hobby. Big no-no!
Privatize everything: Facebook lets you privatize everything so that you have control over who sees what you are posting on your profile. You can privatize your entire profile and make yourself unsearchable by following these steps:
- In the “Account” drop down box in the top right corner on your profile, click “Privacy Settings”
- On the left, there is an option to only share information with friends – “Friends only.” It will only let in those who you have approved to view your profile. This is a simple way to give you better control of who can access your information.
While Facebook is a great way to connect with friends and family, it also says a lot about you. Make sure it’s giving the right message to potential employers by keeping it clean!
For more information on how to best manage your Facebook presence during your job search, read this blog to decide if you should keep your Facebook personal, professional, or both.