There’s a lot of controversy lately about prospective employers asking for or demanding an applicant’s Facebook login as part of the application process. It’s one thing for an outsider to get lucky or find a mutual friend, but is this an invasion of privacy? With so much personal information available on the Internet, it’s almost impossible to protect yourself from someone smart enough to find a back door to your personal accounts. The best defense is to take steps to make sure that once they gain access to your social media accounts, the information they find works to your advantage.
Here are 10 tips that will help make Facebook and LinkedIn work for you:
1. Remove your birth year. A prospective employer doesn’t need to know your age. It’s not supposed to matter or figure into a hiring decision, but don’t give an employer more information than they need or could work against you.
2. Check your messages and posts often. Friends may think it’s funny to post outrageous pictures or make off-the-wall comments, but an employer may not get the joke. Your Facebook profile page will also carry comments from your friends’ friends, which may be a little harder to monitor and control.
3. Keep your posts positive and G-rated. This not the time to rant about your miserable boyfriend or describe the tattoo you’re getting where the sun doesn’t shine.
4. Post a professional quality picture. No avatars, animals, cartoon characters…you get the idea. Switch out the picture of you at 10 years old, wearing a bikini or last year’s Halloween costume.
5. Let your friends know you’re looking for a job and to keep their comments clean and positive. If you’ve got a problem Facebook friend or LinkedIn contact, consider un-friending them until you land your new job.