Facebook is constantly evolving, which can be frustrating for job seekers and employers alike. Although a few years ago you might have locked down your profile to keep it from an employer’s eyes, today you might opt to allow “subscribers” and share only industry-related content with them.
How will the new Facebook affect your job search? Joshua Waldman, author of Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies, provides five ways you can use it to your advantage:
[See The 50 Best Careers for 2011.]
The Timeline will help you tell your story. There’s been a lot of talk about storytelling recently. And Facebook has changed the wall to be more like a linear narrative as well. The timeline starts in the present and as you scroll down, i.e. back in time, your reader will be able to track where you were, what you did, and what you posted all they way back to your birth.
The risk is that if you don’t manage this timeline, someone might get the wrong impression about you and the life you’ve lived so far. So you should spend some time “starring” past posts that you feel better represent who you are. Each post can be set to “public,” which will allow Google to index it and recruiters to find it on background checks. So set posts to public only when you think they will add to your online reputation.
Subscribe to your profile and build your brand. If you do this, please be careful. Although subscribers can only see posts you share publicly, if you aren’t aware of this each time you post, you could make a mistake. As a job seeker, you should always be looking for ways to build your personal brand, and “subscribe” is a great way to do it. Just remember to post publicly a few times a week, and be sure these are posts that are relevant to your career and professional interest.
Interesting News is for the little things. On the right side of the Facebook wall now is a leaderboard that scrolls the latest updates from your network, called the “ticker.” This area is reserved for small things: “likes,” profile changes, or how many cats your retired uncle has in Farmville. The larger posts will stay on the wall under, “recent news”. As you build your brand remember to post both small news items and big news items to stay on both sides. For example, you might share a link with some comments as a big wall post, and then “like” an article on Mashable for the side ticker.
Face Recognition and better tagging options. Facebook has started to use some very powerful facial recognition software so that whenever a photo is uploaded with your face on it you will get tagged automatically (even if you are not in that person’s network). If you are tagged by someone out of your network, this will require your approval no matter what. The danger is that you may start to get more tag notices and may be spending more time untagging yourself. That is, until you adjust your timeline settings so that only tags with your approval appear. To set this up go to Privacy Settings > Manage How Tags Work > Change Settings > Profile (Timeline) Review and turn it on.
What else should job seekers know about the new Facebook? Are there any new features you think will be particularly helpful in the job search? Voice your comments below.
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 Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010) and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.