The internet has made searching for a job infinitely easier than it used to be. No more going through the help-wanted page in the newspaper with a red sharpie! However, the advent of social networks like Facebook has also opened us up personally in a way that we have never been before. Although Facebook can be one of the many useful digital marketing tools out there, your personal profile can be potentially damaging if you are currently on the job hunt.
Old embarrassing photos or controversial posts, if visible to a potential employer or recruiter doing a background check on you, can immediately disqualify you from consideration of a job. Even if you are perfect for a position and you had a fantastic interview, your social media content could take you out of the running. This is why you may wish to “clean up” your Facebook account before going out and looking for a new job.
Cleaning up Facebook by removing anything embarrassing that you might not want people outside of your friends or family to see can be a daunting task. But it can also be worth it. Just think of it as digital spring cleaning! Here’s what you can do to make sure Facebook will be “job search friendly” and help you make a great digital impression on potential employers!
Change Your Facebook Privacy Settings
Before you delete or change anything about your Facebook profile, you should check your privacy settings. This is where you can choose who has access to the content hosted on your Facebook profile. The three privacy settings are usually “Everyone,” “Friends of Friends,” or “Friends Only.”
“Everyone” means that anyone who has a Facebook account can see your entire Facebook profile, all of your photos, statuses, videos, the works. Even if you aren’t currently on a job search, we would recommend keeping away from this settings as it can open the door to threats of online identity theft.
“Friends of Friends” means that the only people that can see your Facebook profile are your friends and their friends. This is quite a bit more secure, although it still opens your Facebook profile up to a vast audience of people that you don’t know. But if you don’t mind mutual friends seeing your photos and other content, it’s a viable option.
“Friends Only” is the most secure Facebook privacy setting and probably the one you want to use. Your Facebook friend list is, presumably, all people you know and trust to a certain extent. These are the people that you want to have access to your content. This is also the setting you probably want in place if you are on a job search.
You also have the option of setting up custom privacy settings, which allows you to specifically choose which content is visible to all Facebook users.
Check Your Photos
One of the original purposes of Facebook was to share photos. If you’ve been a user since the beginning, there is a good chance that dozens, if not hundreds, of pictures of you exist on there. Photos from high school or college rarely reflect well on current selves, so we likely don’t want potential employers to see them.
Going through your photos to curate the ones you want to appear on your profile can be time-consuming, but worthwhile. If any display you in a less than positive light, delete them. If there are some that display you in a less than positive light, but you still don’t want to get rid of them, save them to your hard drive, then delete them from Facebook.
Don’t forget to go through all of the photos posted by your friends that you have been tagged in. You can’t delete these photos, as they aren’t your content, but you can untag from them. If there are any photos that you feel are particularly inappropriate, you should contact your friend and ask them to delete them for you.
If you have set your privacy settings set to “Friends Only,” recruiters and employers should only be able to see your set profile picture. Make sure that this it is a great photo and one that you wouldn’t mind your boss seeing. Keep it professional, don’t use a photo of you at the beach, making out with your significant other, or doing a keg stand.
What Info Do You Want to Present?
Some people have everything on their Facebook profiles listed, from their old elementary school to their phone number and address. Although we would argue that less is more when it comes to your Facebook info, you might still want to keep some of it up for personal reasons.
If you’re applying for a job, we would recommend removing any references to politics, religion, drugs, drinking, swearing, or anything else that could be interpreted as controversial by a recruiter or employer.
Concerning your Facebook interests, perhaps you could pick some that reflect your enthusiasm for the industry you are applying. For example, if you are interested in finance, list a few relevant publications.
What About Your Statuses and Wall Posts?
This is where many people can get into trouble.
Facebook has been around for over a decade, which means that you likely have years’ worth of statuses and wall posts in your profile history. Even if they were posted back in 2006, they are still there if someone is determined enough to look for them. This can be especially bad if you ever publicly complained about a past employer.
In the future, we would recommend keeping all of your posts “clean,” but if that ship has sailed long ago, it might be worth the time investment to go through and curate all of your old statuses. Just think of it as a fun trip down memory lane.
This is a bit of a “scorched earth” method of cleaning your Facebook profile, but it’s super effective!
Simply disable or delete your current profile. If you disable, all of your content will still be there, but inaccessible to any Facebook users (including yourself). If you delete your profile, all of that content will be gone permanently.
If you are somewhat reluctant to permanently delete the last decade of your life, there are other options. You could rename your current profile to an assumed name and then create a secondary profile with your actual name. This can allow you to maintain a professional Facebook persona, carefully curated to appeal to recruiters and employers, while also keeping your current one with all of your friends and content.
And we might recommend disabling your profile for a period of time anyway. After all, life is short and it’s nice to switch off and enjoy it sometimes!
Download Your Facebook History
If you want to delete and start again, but don’t want to lose your content, there is a way. You can now download an archive of your entire Facebook history. This includes every post, photo, conversation, and event attended; everything you’ve ever done on Facebook since you first created your profile.
This is an entirely free service by Facebook and can be worth a peak, even if you aren’t currently planning on cleaning up your Facebook. Frankly, it can be scary to suddenly see just how much information social networks like Facebook have on all of us.
Over the last few years, Facebook has replaced our address book, Rolodex, mailing list, and photo albums. However, it has also opened us up to the world at large. If you are currently on a job hunt, you really should think of your Facebook profile as your online representative that will be communicating your “best self” to potential employers and recruiters. If it doesn’t, then it might be time to reconsider your Facebook usage and start cleaning it up so nothing disqualifying will be found during a routine background check.
If you have any more Facebook tips or ideas how it could help/hinder you on your job search, please feel free to comment below! And if you’d like to search our open jobs, click this link: https://spectra360jobs.com