Why You Should Keep Facebook and Your Job Search Separate
Amit De is the CEO and co-founder of Careerleaf, a platform that helps job seekers showcase their skills and talents, search for jobs, and track and organize communications all from one place. Connect with Amit and CareerLeaf on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Can Facebook help or hurt your job search?
Most employers are looking you up online — and most job seekers are aware of this. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 37% of employers are looking up candidates’ Facebook profiles, and while they may not intend to look at your profiles for reasons not to hire you, they could find them. Most look to see if the candidate is a good fit for the company, whether or not they conduct themselves professionally, and how well rounded they truly are. However, 12% say they look up candidates’ Facebook profiles in order to find reasons to not hire them.
This is interesting considering Facebook is sometimes rumored to be launching a job search platform. Although most Facebook users tend to use the site for their personal social lives, the addition of a job search platform may blur the lines between the personal and the professional, making job seekers unsure of how to balance the two distinctions.
What’s Facebook For
Facebook wasn’t originally designed for your professional life like, say, LinkedIn or other local job search communities. Facebook does already have a number of job search applications (like BranchOut), meaning there are certainly ways to effectively leverage the site for networking or job search purposes. Still, some have argued that these applications are rarely used, and that other big-name sites that have tried to launch job boards inevitably failed. For instance, Yahoo HotJobs was acquired by Monster and Google Base is all but dead.
Your Job Search
So what happens when the professional merges with the personal? The fact is, Facebook simply isn’t the core of your job search experience, as it’s been traditionally used for our social lives. How can you ensure employers won’t see anything that could cast you in a negative light, like pictures from this weekend or a less-than-professional wall post from a friend?
One way to ensure employers can’t snoop is to keep your Facebook profile as private as you can. First, run a quick Google search to make sure your profile no longer pops up in association with your name. If it does, you can make your profile unreachable by search engines by clicking on the “Ads, Apps, and Websites” option under “Privacy settings,” then edit your settings under the “Public search” category. Consider restricting who can send you friend requests, and keep your phone number and email address limited to only friends. You can also restrict who sends you messages and who can see what others post on your timeline — choose from pre-determined options or customize it to specifically block this information from those who you may have friended for professional reasons.
Although it’s hard to remain professional on Facebook, that doesn’t mean you have to entirely forego using social sites for your job search. Concentrate instead on LinkedIn, Twitter (just keep your tweets clean!) and niche communities for your industry or profession. Ultimately, Facebook is a social platform and should stay that way. Sites designed for your job search allow you to create profiles that reflect your skill set and experience, instead of your social Facebook profile. Keep your professional and social profiles separate; you don’t want someone’s unflattering picture of you to compromise your hiring potential.
The bottom line? Facebook and your job search should be kept separate. Facebook is a place for personal sharing, bonding with friends and family, and catching up with old acquaintances. Use other social media sites to interface with potential employers.
Do you think Facebook and job searching mix? Let us know in the comments.
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