Facebook can be the downfall of your job search if you’re not careful. From posting inappropriate pictures to badmouthing former employers, hazards lurk around many a corner. Even if you think you’re interacting only with your friends, always remain professional. Hiring managers may look at your profile to see if you would be a good fit for their position.
Earlier this week, blogger Lindsay Olson offered ideas on how to use the power of Facebook for your job hunt. Here are a few ways to take that even further:
Leverage your current network in your job search. People we friend on Facebook are typically individuals whom we know well: family members, peers, and former colleagues. Who better to help you in your job search than people you know well and already have established a relationship with?
To use your Facebook network in your job search, update your status about your job search or personally message people who may be able to help you. Look at your friends’ current networks, cities, and employment information to determine whether anyone you know works at a company that interests you.
Change your profile picture. Because of the social aspect of Facebook, you might forget that—unless you’ve changed your privacy settings to not show it—everyone can see your profile picture. Make sure your picture is an appropriate headshot to ensure you appear professional in all interactions across the platform.
Create your own Facebook page. If you’re hesitant to make your personal profile public, create a page instead. Start by visiting http://www.facebook.com/pages/ and clicking “Create page.” Here you can display any information you’d like a potential employer to see. A few things to get started:
• Completely fill in all information, including biography, skills, websites, contact information, and more
• Create custom tabs with iFrames to include additional information, photos, and work samples
• Link to other pages you “like” by clicking “Add to my page’s favorites” on the chosen page
“Like” your ideal companies. Keep up with recent news and job openings by joining companies’ communities on Facebook. Participate in conversations by commenting on interesting stories and posts to increase your visibility with employees at the company. (Remember, there is a real person behind that company Facebook page!)
Join groups or “like” pages related to your field and interests. Similar to LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups and pages can introduce you to a whole community of new contacts and valuable information about your industry. It also helps potential employers get to know you—and your interests—by displaying these on your profile.
“Friend” potential colleagues and hiring managers. Making connections on Facebook can help you make deeper connections with individuals in your network. Although it may not be best to try and “friend” every contact in your job search, use your discretion and add those you know personally or have a relationship with already.
Pay close attention to privacy settings. Do you post pictures or status updates that may be deemed inappropriate for hiring managers or recruiters? While job searching, it’s important to clean up your account (if it’s public) or change privacy settings to keep personal information private if it may affect your job search. Go to the drop-down menu in the right-hand corner called “Account,” and click on “Privacy Settings.” From there, you can determine who sees what you post—everyone, friends of friends, friends only, or create a custom set of privacy settings—to ensure what an employer will view. Photo albums privacy settings are within each album, so don’t forget to check those, as well.
How have you leveraged Facebook in your job search?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and employers. She is also the author of #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010) and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.