Keeping your work life and your personal life separate has become harder as more and more employers are now looking into their job applicants’ Facebook profiles. HR managers and employers look into applicants’ Facebook profiles to confirm that their identities and to asses if that applicant would be the right fit for the job. This means that what you put on your Facebook account can make or break your next big job opportunity.
We can complain all we want that this practice is a violation of privacy but this trend isn’t going away soon. HR managers and recruitment experts love looking into jobseekers’ social media profiles because it provides them with a ton of information they can’t get from your resume or job interview. In fact, 37% of employers already engage in this practice according to a CareerBuilder Survey in 2012 and the practice shows no sign of stopping.
Your Facebook profile tells an employer 5 things:
- Do you present yourself professionally, even in your social life?
- Are you a good fit with the company’s corporate culture? The company you keep, your likes, shares and posts tells about about your beliefs and values.
- Do you really have the qualifications you claim in your resume? Are you a member of a professional organization on Facebook? Are you friends with people in the same field? Do you follow industry leaders?
- Are you a well-rounded person? Would you be able to get along with your boss and colleagues outside of work?
- Do you have anything incriminating that would give them a reason not to hire you? Do you bad mouth your boss and colleagues on Facebook? Do you make fun of clients on your profile? Do you have a criminal record?
Keeping these 5 things in mind, we can immediately deduce what are the things that can ruin your job hunt. If you have the following on your Facebook profile, these might be that things that are keeping you being hired:
- Inappropriate photos or posts that are not safe for work (pornography, profanity, violence)
- Unprofessional demeanor like making fun of current and former clients, co-workers and bosses
- Evidence of illegal activity (photos of drug abuse or criminal activity)
- Discriminatory remarks or posts relating to race, religion or gender
- Inconsistent information like work experience, educational background and contact information.
So how do you make your Facebook profile job ready? What are the qualities in a Facebook profile that would make employers want to hire you? Here’s a step by step guide to making your Facebook profile job ready and attractive to employers.
- Make sure that the information on your Timeline is accurate and relevant, especially details about your work and educational background. Don’t lie about where you went to school, where you worked and when you did work for them. Your Timeline info is just the starting point for most HR managers. This is where they start looking for information to confirm your resume. Any inconsistencies between your Facebook profile and resume can and will raise red flags with employers.
- If possible, remove any provocative or inappropriate photos and avoid posting any more. Setting your photos and posts to private are no longer enough. There have been stories of how gay men and women were outed on Facebook despite strict privacy setting and even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg isn’t safe when his holiday photos were leaked last 2011 and 2012. Rule of thumb is if you’re not willing to share it to a stranger, then don’t share it on Facebook.
- Be articulate. It’s fun to talk with your friends on Facebook and employers see these interactions as examples of your communication skills. Employers see articulate, intelligent and thoughtful Facebook posts and comments as signs of intelligence and competent communication skills. Your friends and family may find your grammatical and spelling errors funny but employers may see it as a sign that maybe you’re not as intelligent or as skilled as you seem in your resume.
- Use your Facebook as a means to showcase and promote your knowledge and skill. If you don’t have the time or the resources to maintain your own website that would serve as your online portfolio, an easy and cheaper way to do it would be to create Facebook page and use it as your online portfolio. Posting your work makes documenting easier, gets you instant exposure and feedback from colleagues.
- Use Facebook to network and connect with potential employers and industry insiders. In addition to using Facebook to check on job applicants, employers are now also using Facebook to recruit possible employees by tapping into professional groups and alumni organizations. Connecting with these networks shows that you have the initiative to go after the jobs you want. It also shows that your skills and knowledge are up-to-date if you actively participate and comment in these groups.
So next time you want to post that racy photo or vent about your work, think about the strangers that could see your profile and how these strangers can make or break your chance to getting your dream job.
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