According to an Online Reputation survey performed by a Cross-Tab, a market research company, 70% of U.S recruiters and HR professionals have rejected candidates based on information they found online.
When you are searched for online, what will someone find?
Google search results will include your social profiles as well as any website where you or your work is listed (ex. a personal website, blog posts you've written and published, etc.). If you aren't on LinkedIn (and you should be!), then your Facebook profile will certainly be looked at.
Don't let this scare you into deleting your profile or changing your privacy settings to be as strict as possible. Job seekers can easily use Facebook to build their personal brand. These six Facebook tips will help you develop your profile to capture the attention of recruiters and boost your chances of receiving a call for an interview.
1. Fix Your Privacy Settings
It's no wonder your privacy settings are set so strictly! It's completely against Facebook best practices to make your information public, but recruiters and employers can only see what you post when you have your privacy settings set appropriately.
So what should be public and what should only your Friends see?
Update your settings so the following profile details are Public:
- Your Contact Information
- Your Work
- Your Education
- Your Professional Skills
- Your About You Section
- Your Life Events on your Timeline
Update your settings so the following profile details can only be seen by your Friends:
- Your Posts (Default Setting)
- Your Photos
- Your Basic Info especially:
- Your Birth Year
- Your Interested In Section
- Your Religious Views
- Your Political Views
- Your Groups
It's very easy to adjust your privacy settings using the Facebook mobile app. View your profile, click "Update Info," and click on each section to change the individual privacy settings for each.
To update your privacy settings for posts, click on the three vertical dots next to Update Info and click "View Privacy Shortcuts." Under "Who can see my stuff?" you will be able to change your privacy settings for posts.
2. Delete Posts That Are...
Now you need to do a social media audit for at least the last six months. You should delete or change the privacy settings to Friends Only for any posts that are discriminatory, inappropriate, or unprofessional.
Even though it's illegal, recruiters and employers can discriminate against you and not call you for an interview if they don't like what they see on your Facebook profile. So what could they discriminate against you for?
- Sexual identity
- Religious beliefs
- National origin
- Military service or affiliation
- Bankruptcy or indication of bad debts
- Genetic information
- Citizenship status
Posts on your Facebook page can easily set you up for discrimination without you even knowing it. Any inappropriate posts or unprofessional posts could hurt your chances of securing interviews too. Inappropriate posts include posts that reflect racism, discrimination, or sexist views. Any posts that contain profanity, sexual content, or alcoholic and illegal drug use will certainly hurt your chances of being called for an interview as well.
Also be aware that your communication skills are being considered. Do your posts have lots of misspellings, poor grammar, or shorthand? Start watching what you say and how you say it if you are going to post under any Public settings.
3. Optimize Your About Tab
Recruiters and employers can search for and find your profile based on keywords found in your About Tab on your profile. Optimize this section by adding your Work Experience with keyword-optimized descriptions. Add your Education and Professional Skills to boost your profile and make it easy for employers to see what you can do.
You also have no character limitations for your About Me section. Take a note from LinkedIn and use this section as a keyword-rich Career Summary. Describe your strengths, your career goals, and your ideal employer.
4. Boost Your Timeline
You can add Life Events to fill your Timeline for employers and recruiters (especially if you change your privacy settings for your posts!). What kind of Life Events should you add? You should add important milestones such as:
- Volunteer Work
- Learning new languages
- Awards you received
- Any achievements
To add a Life Event, go to your profile and click the LIFE EVENT button instead of STATUS or PHOTO. You will see suggestions and categories, or you can create your own. Make sure you set the privacy settings to Public on the Life Event, add the date(s), and describe the event.
6. Show Off With Your Cover Photo
Your cover photo can be a great place to show off your personal brand. You can create an infographic of your resume using a free tool like Canva, or you could show off something more personal like a hobby or passion.
Just make sure your photo doesn't give employers a red flag about hiring you. Anything discriminatory or inappropriate will hurt your chances of getting an interview.
7. Join Facebook Groups
Facebook's Graph Search is getting pretty good. You should be able to find Groups based on your industry or location. Groups can be great resources for local or online job postings, professional networking, and community support. To get started with Groups, start by seeing if your college has an alumni group or see if there are any "Young Professionals" groups in your area.
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