According to a CareerBuilder survey, 51 percent of hiring managers use search engines to research candidates. The good news is they aren’t always looking for red flags. Often, employers want to find professional online profiles that support your qualifications for the job.
As a college student, you may have never thought about the impact your personal social media habits might have on a future career. So, before applying for your dream job, make sure you represent the best version of you online.
Although Facebook is used primarily to connect with friends and family, your pictures, comments, and group affiliations can cause problems for yourself or a potential career. Sometimes during the hiring process, employers may even ask to “friend” you on Facebook.
- Review your public profile
To do this go to your profile, by your header image there is a button with three dots, click that and select “View As.”
This will enable a black bar at the top to indicate that you are viewing your profile as a public person.
Scroll through your profile to see posts that are visible publically as well as other parts of your profile such as the about page. You will need to manually change or delete posts that you do not want anyone who has a Facebook account to see.
- Review your privacy settings
Privacy settings change very often, so it’s best to review them at least every six months.
Click the lock at the upper right-hand corner to make sure you have your privacy settings set well.
Be careful of sharing things like your full birth date or address. Both are personal pieces of information that could be used against you.
- Allowing people to tag you or put things directly on your timeline
This is a feature by default that allows other users to tag you in pictures and another option to post directly to your timeline.
By allowing both of these options, you are open to having things posted either by spammers or by friends. Don’t be surprised if an old or inappropriate picture gets posted to your timeline.
You can change these settings to allow for your approval before posts show up on your timeline for everyone to see.
Settings > Timeline and Tagging > Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline? Select Yes.
- Review your profile and cover pictures, both current and past.
Your profile and cover images are always public by default, but you can change your past pictures to only show to friends. This way if an employer looks at your profile, they will only be able to see your current pictures posted.
To change the setting of who can view it, click on the specific picture and underneath your profile picture and there should be a world icon. Click that and select the audience you’d like to view the picture.
Be cautious of pictures that would appear unprofessional or may have children in them, it could be used against you in your job search. Many times employers are looking for things to use against you and children (even if they are not yours) could thought of as another reason why you might have to miss work.
- Create public posts about positive things
You don’t always want to have your profile locked down. In fact, consider posting relevant posts that would help build your credibility or expertise. Some examples include:
- Volunteering that you’ve done
- Awards or accomplishments you are proud of
- Relevant industry articles
- Groups you are involved in
Depending on the group, some may allow others to see that you are part of the group on Facebook. Consider the type of group and what effect it would have on future employment. For example, a pro-medical marijuana group may not be something you’d like an employer to see that you are involved in. This also to applies to any religious or political groups.
When commenting on friend’s posts, on pages or in groups, this could all be seen publically or by an employer or someone working at a business. Be sure your posts are grammatically correct, free of errors and would be a post that you would be comfortable having your grandma read. Your online communication reflects you and the type of person you are.
Globe University offers career services coaching and is happy to provide feedback and assistance in your online brand. If you need help with these tips or would like a staff member to review your profile- contact your local campus.
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