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New Facebook Profile and Your Job Search

December 10, 2010

Last Sunday night on a 60 Minutes interview Mark Zuckerberg rolled out the new Facbeook profile.  Currently users can opt into this format or stick with the old one (for now).  I usually go ga ga over every new Facebook update and this one is no different.  While most people complain about the changes, I like them.

For those resistant to the changes here is something that you should know.  If a user has opted in for the new look, they will see all profiles in this look, not just their own.  So even if you don’t like it, your friends or potential employers may be seeing your content in this new format.  Here is what my profile looks like in the new format.

New Facebook Profile

To me the most striking element of the new lay out is the predominance of the photos.  No longer does it take several clicks or scrolling through screens to get to photos of the users that they OR friends have tagged.

How is this going to hurt your job search?

When job searching the privacy settings on your Facebook account are VERY important.  Even if you think your photos or content is innocuous  you never know what an HR hiring specialist is going to think.  Make sure everything is set to “Friends Only”  or at the very least “Friends of Friends”

If you don’t have your photos set to private, with this new setting they are going to be the first thing that a perspective employer will see.  Unless you are an actor and all of your tagged photos are professional head shots, you want your photos set to private.  Don’t give a future employer a false reason not to hire you because someone tagged a photo of you drunk five years ago!

Right above the photos, in this new look,  is all your personal information.  This is all information that you have provided and has always been on Facebook, but it is just out there in a new way.  It is a very social way.  You have your elevator pitch for meeting people in businesses and this new format is essentially your elevator pitch for your social life.  Those two pitches are always going to be slightly different.  Most of the information in this section is illegal to ask in an interview, relationship status and age being tops on that list.  But if you don’t have this information set to private,  it is not illegal for an employer to see it.

What should a future employer be able to see?

Job searching doesn’t mean you delete your Facebook account.  You do want a nice, professional, clear profile picture of you and your name.    So when they do search for you, they know they have found the right profile and don’t waste time looking at someone else with the same name.  You never want to be confused with anyone digitally.  Then maybe a few basic “likes” public.  It is ok to have a life when job searching.  Employers are usually happy and supportive of employees who have hobbies, support causes or are active in their community because it means they are ambitious. If someone outside of your network searches for you, this is what they should see.

Bottom line – Let Facebook and social media work for you in your job search.  Everyone and every organization is going to view the use of Facebook and a user’s content differently.  For me, I am very public on all social media outlets, and I am looking for a job in the social media world.  My presence on these networks has a different significance than most job seekers.   It is important to come up with your own digital marketing plan and stick to it.  Let your best personality traits shine.  You never know how it will be perceived, so I think it is best to proceed with caution.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Terry Mattison permalink
    December 10, 2010 9:18 pm

    Outstanding advice. Employers are using social media to scan potential candidates for employment. Employers are scan social media sites for potentially compromising information that could influence the reputation of an organization or and individual department of the organization. Well done!

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