Many current college students were introduced to Facebook in late middle school or early high school. This mean Facebook successfully documented your “awkward” phase. Perhaps you liked all of the random pages like “Parents call it ‘Back Talk’ we call it ‘explaining why their wrong’” or “I didn’t fall, I attacked the floor.” Or you have pictures that are not appropriate for a professional to see whether it you drinking at a party before you were of legal age or if you are doing something “unflattering.” According to the Huffington Post, “37 percent of hiring managers use social networking sites to research job applicants, with over 65 percent of that group using Facebook as their primary resource.” With that in mind companies are looking at your profile to see who you are and what your personality is like. They do not want to see you playing flip cup at a high school party or liking pages that have no relevance on your views or life. The real question then is: what should you keep on your Facebook when you began applying for jobs, what should you delete, and what should you add or change?
What should you keep?
Employers are looking for a well-rounded individual that they want in their company. Your Facebook should reflect this. Keeping things such as family photos, photos of you with friends or teammates, doing something that interests you such as hiking or traveling, and significant life events are all things that display who you are. You should also keep the likes that include literature and movies. The person you interview with might love 80s movies as much as you do.
What should you delete?
The good news is that you do not have to go back and delete every bad thing you have ever posted. Facebook has a privacy setting that limits the audience’s view of old posts, anything before 2013. To do this, users must go to privacy settings, who can see my stuff, and then limit the audience for old posts on your timeline. You simply click the button and everything before 2013 is hidden from everyone but you.
As for your posts after 2013, here is what you should delete or hide: photos of you belligerently intoxicated, posts that are related to substance abuse, inappropriate photos that can be suggestive, and all of the pages that are random phrases that you agree with (see 1st paragraph). According to fastcompany.com, employers rejected candidates for provocative photos or info; drinking or drug use; bad-mouthing previous employee, colleague, or client; poor communication skills; discriminatory comments; false qualifications; and leaked confidential info from previous jobs. Depending on the company, provocative and inappropriate photos can range from you in a bikini at the beach to you being blacked out at a friend’s birthday party. Ultimately, you must make the decision as to where to draw the line. It is also wise to refrain from vulgar language in comments. While you may enjoy the posts you make, future employers do not.
What should you add or change?
Your about page is important for companies when finding future employees. It is a way for you, the job seeker, to brand who you are. Similarly to LinkedIn, you want to put as much information down as you can. Describe your education and work experience. In your about you block discuss what you like to do and your goals for employment. Additionally, make sure all the information about your skills, languages you speak, current city, etc. are up-to-date. Employers do not want to see outdated information. If you would like, you can put a favorite quotation or two that is inspirational to you. If the hiring manager did look at your Facebook page, it may be a good discussion topic.
Facebook is becoming more prevalent in the job market. If you feel that you cannot possibly make your profile acceptable when you begin the job search consider making a new page. You can keep the old one and change your name so it is a nickname or just your first and middle name. You are then able to start anew with a professional profile that is linked to your first and last name. The only issue with this is that employers can tell it is a new profile. The best decision is to censor your Facebook successfully. Profiles that show your personality, have accurate professional qualifications, are creative, have good communication skill, are well-rounded, and have good posts from other individuals are more likely to get hired according to fastcompany.com. This is what you should aim for to have the perfect profile when you begin the hunt for a job.