When it comes to crafting and sending out resumes, online warnings abound regarding how social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter fit into a job search. These days, many employers, hiring managers and recruiters take to consulting the Internet when sifting through resumes, if only to do a bit of housecleaning prior to setting up interviews. After all, it’s easy for a hiring manager to “thin the herd” per se simply by seeing which candidates appear less than reputable through their social media accounts. Of course, I have lectured on this particular facet in resume webinars I have led, and my traditional point of advice has always been “whatever you do, employ privacy settings.” However, I have recently begun to change my tune, as social media, Facebook in particular, has the ability to complement your resume and add a level of depth to who you are as a prospective employee. In order for a convergence of your resume and Facebook profile to work, you need to know what to do prior to starting your job search.
Facebook Can Hurt Job Prospects…But It Can Also Help
As I stated, the traditional rule resume pros and recruiters lecture on is to make sure your social media profiles cannot be found. However, Facebook can also be used to enhance who you are as a professional, brand yourself and promote information that might not find a home on your resume. Ultimately, Facebook can help you position yourself as a candidate that appeals, interests and excites—adding to the potential you could bring to an employer. Use these tips on Facebook to complement your resume and stop worrying about the stickiness of your privacy settings:
- Completely get rid of any controversial posts, incriminating pictures or other information that could make you look bad. I know this sounds fairly, “Well, duh Captain Obvious,” but this is the one reason why people get screened out of potential job opportunities. Yes, Facebook is used to talk about politics, complain about sports, share funny memes, as well as discuss whatever happened on The Bachelor last night, but all of this can make you look unprofessional, unsavory and trite. And while you might be diligent about avoiding this on Facebook, make sure your friends aren’t involving you in their debauchery. Get rid of any photos, posts, videos and the like that your friends might have tagged you in; ask them to take it down or if they won’t do that, simply ask to have your name removed. Remember, other people do have the ability to impact you and your reputation.
- Make sure there is a link to your resume somewhere on your Facebook profile. This is a signal to anyone who might be taking a look at your profile that the information you are highlighting is above board and that you take yourself (including your professional life) seriously. If you are unsure of how to highlight your resume on your Facebook profile, set up a LinkedIn account and populate the profile with your most current resume information. Link your Facebook profile to this and vice versa.
- Find Facebook groups or associations that you are a member of or relate to your industry and “like” them. For instance, maybe you are a member of the Professional Women’s Business Owners Association or the Association of Life Insurance Agents. Whatever it might be, let someone who is viewing your profile realize that you are active and engaged in these groups.
- Consider your alma mater. Taking the previous piece of advice into account, make sure you support any academic associations that have helped you get where you are today; this could be your college, your former fraternity or sorority (make sure it is the official page and not a page promoted by a party-focused member), any honor societies or even booster organizations. This is important for everyone, but is especially prevalent in a recent graduate’s entry-level job search.
- Showcase photographs or information of your professional, academic or volunteer achievements. For instance, if you regularly help out at a local animal rescue, post photographs of your work or talk about your success stories in a status update. If you recently attended a networking event, post pictures that feature you and other attendees in a professional and positive light.
- “Like” the pages of non-profit groups that you support or donate to. Share these organizations’ posts when they speak about recent success or appeal to the public for additional assistance.
- Realize that posting information regarding your personal and family life is not a negative thing as long as you don’t position it as such. Employers like to see that their employees or prospective employees have interests and passions. Moreover, showing happy pictures of your family and friends adds another level of dimension to you and can assist in making you “relatable.” In this regard, you might want to think before you complain about your spouse or your kids, and forego family drama or information about financial problems, arguments with your sister or how much your mother-in-law annoys you. It might seem innocent, but it is a red flag.
In closing, your Facebook profile does not have to be considered a job search faux pas IF it is used correctly. Moreover, if you get into a routine and establish some discipline in how you use the tool, your Facebook friends will probably get the hint that you are not one to overshare, nor are you a person who will engage in arguments, controversy, foul language, irresponsible posting and the rest of what could be considered Facebook flotsam. Establish these rules from the get-go or employ them now and clean up your Facebook profile and experience a boost in job search benefits.
The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services, including resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter writing. For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in writing and editing tips and to give a “like” to our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.