These days, employers and recruiters are using every means available to help make their hiring decisions — which includes looking through resumes, of course, but also checking out social media sites. Before calling a candidate to set up an interview, most employers are going to do their due diligence, checking out the candidate on Facebook and ensuring there are no obvious “red flags.” Of course, if your Facebook page is plastered with drunk, slovenly photos or crass content, you’re probably not going to get that interview! As such, articles explaining what not to post on Facebook are a dime a dozen, and for perfectly good reason.
Here’s a reality that does not receive nearly enough attention, though: While Facebook can absolutely hurt your career prospects, it can also help your career prospects. The answer, then, is not to remove your Facebook page altogether, or to turn your privacy settings on high. The answer is to use Facebook to enhance, promote, and brand yourself — to present yourself as a job applicant of immense potential and appeal.
Easier said than done? Not at all! In addition to keeping your Facebook page clear of the damaging content discussed above — simply by using your own common sense and good judgment — you should also make sure to highlight information that makes you more enticing to would-be employers. Some examples are as follows:
- Include a link to your resume, perhaps hosted on a site like LinkedIn. Of course, recruiters and employers probably have your resume already, if they are checking you out on Facebook, but highlighting it in this forum makes it clear that you take your professional life seriously.
- Include information about any professional associations or organizations to which you belong. If you’re looking for a job as a professional piano tuner, and you happen to belong to the Association of Professional Piano Tuners, make sure your potential employers know it! “Like” the corresponding pages on Facebook.
- By the same token, you might “like” any academic associations to which you belong. This is especially true for college seniors or recent graduates, who may not have as many professional organizations to note. If you’re a member of a national, academic honor society, you should absolutely “like” it on Facebook.
- Many companies say that they take social responsibility seriously — so you should prove to them that you do, too. If you’ve recently helped build a Habitat for Humanity house, or if you have volunteered at a soup kitchen, post some photos on Facebook. Alternatively, connect with the pages of whatever non-profit organizations you support.
- Finally, note that Facebook is a great venue for highlighting your hobbies and your family life — things that can make you more relatable to potential employers.
The bottom line is that Facebook can prove either a blessing or a curse — and the choice is really yours. Make sure you are posting all the right things on your social media profiles, using them to brand yourself as a superior job applicant.