Even here at TalentEgg, the connection between Facebook (and other social networking tools) and the professional life of a student or new grad has been touched on here at the blog and discussed extensively in the Egg Carton (the small – but cozy – TalentEgg office).
It seems like everyone has their own rule of thumb. Lauren thinks we should avoid using Facebook as a virtual resume and point potential employers to our other profiles and websites, such as LinkedIn or a personal site. Jaclyn Greenberg over at withmyBA.com agrees with Lauren, adding that we should keep updates regarding our job hunt or career out of our Facebook newsfeed.
However, neither of these posts have addressed the fact that some people post really unprofessional pictures and information on their profiles. And not even just unprofessional, but downright immature, crude and embarrassing.
While considering how Facebook should or should not be used as a recruiting tool, Lauren and Jaclyn, and many other young professionals, look at themselves as good examples of what a Facebook profile looks like and what risks are involved in having pictures and information about yourself available online.
Like a good little social networker, I have them both on Facebook. They both promote their business or blog, interact with friends and family, and have hundreds of pictures tagged of themselves at parties, weddings, cottages and other events. Some pictures are silly or maybe unflattering, but they’re all fun and in good taste. I tend to think my profile is similar.
But I have some friends on Facebook who should probably edit their profiles for a number of reasons, and not just for job searching purposes. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to find pictures of them and information about them that would make anybody – not just recruiters – think less of them.
Here are a few things I’ve seen that I think should be left off of Facebook:
- Participation in illegal activities, such as underage drinking, doing illicit drugs, and the destruction of public and private property
- Conversation about or affiliation with cheating or stealing, such as in your status or by joining related groups
- Excessive profanity, or any use of discriminatory or derogatory language
- Photographs of parts of your body that would normally be covered by at least a swim suit
I could also make an argument for leaving out overly sexual content, but if you’re comfortable with everyone (including your friends, family, co-workers and bosses) seeing and knowing about that part of your life, then I don’t see anything wrong with posting it.
There’s also the option of blocking certain people from seeing specific content on your profile. Go to Settings – Privacy Settings at the top right of any page on Facebook, and you can play with the settings for your profile as a whole, for certain types of content, such as pictures and status updates, or for individual people.
Most of us don’t really have profiles that require censoring, but if you’re unsure and you don’t want to censor yourself, consider taking advantage of that extremely useful option.