Facebook is an awesome social networking tool that enables users to stay connected with friends, but the downside is that almost everyone is on Facebook, including my 71-year-old grandmother. Moreover, we live in a voyeuristic society. People are searching to find information about others and many are guilty of TMI – too much information— through Facebook. With that in mind, it’s important to be cautious and cognizant of our Facebook content.
The social network is a resource for people searching for roommates, learning about a new friend and most importantly, seeking employees. According to a study in 2009, employers are using social networks to screen job candidates and eliminate them from consideration because of information found on their pages such as:
• Information about alcohol or drug use
• Inappropriate photos or information posted on a candidate’s page
• Poor communication skills
• Unprofessional screen names
Although you won’t find the bullets above on my Facebook profile, I decided that in addition to changing the privacy settings on my profile, I would create two profiles, one for my personal life and the other for professional use. Perception is key, and although I don’t have anything to hide, I’d like to prevent scrutiny over a vacation photo or for remarks made on my personal profile.
Each individual uses social networking sites for various reasons, but it’s important to keep in mind that the posts we make on Facebook can inhibit our employment searches, harm our careers and damage our professional reputations. Here are a few tips for keeping your Facebook profile employer-friendly and an article on how to use Facebook without losing your job over it, which includes information on setting up a personal and professional profile.