If you’re a college student looking to get employed, hired for an internship or a research assistant position–then it’s time to considering cleaning up your Facebook. Why?
CareerBuilder.com has reported that one in five employers check Facebook profiles when looking into a potential candidate for their position.
What’s more, of those who said they did not, 10 percent said they will start.
Take the cases of Dan Leone who was a gate worker at the Philadelphia Eagles stadium that posted a complaint about the team not re-signing safety Brian Dawkins, teenager Kimberly Swann who posted that her job was “dull” or the 13 Virgin Atlantic employees who were terminated for criticizing passengers in a Facebook discussion. Long story short—it doesn’t matter what you do for a living, a faux pas on Facebook can get you fired or prevent you from getting hired.
Below are a few things to consider in order to make your profile and access to your profile employer-friendly without costing you your individuality:
Don’t Complain About Your Current Job or Co-workers
If you’re employed, complaining about co-workers or your job can get you fired and if you’re looking for jobs, it can send the wrong message that you’ll bad mouth your future employers as well. If you feel VERY compelled to rant about your job, make sure you alter your settings so that the rant can only be seen by select individuals.
Untag most, if not all, pictures of you drinking, smoking or taking any illegal substances—even if it’s just a joke. Tanya Flynn of CareerBuilder.com told NPR that of the employers who looked into candidate’s Facebook profile’s, 1/3 rejected candidates based on photos with alcohol or drugs. What’s more, if your employer has an unspoken bias against smokers, it could cost you a job opportunity!
Filter Your Status
This should be a no brainer. Don’t post anything offensive, inappropriate, racist, misogynistic, homophobic or overtly controversial. Dropping the occasional F-bomb is okay, but if it’s every other word in each and every of your statuses then it doesn’t bode well for you. Much like this:
Make albums limited to Friends only, or if you’re friends with co-workers or supervisors, then make them limited to exclude them! It’s okay to upload photographs from frat parties and other shenanigans on Facebook, but ensure it’s not accessible to stranger, future employers or current employers.
Keep Profile Pictures Clean
It doesn’t have to be prude, just clean. For instance, beach picture from a family vacation? It’s cool. Picture from Halloween party where you’re a slutty nun? Not so much.
Add Applications Selectively
Yes, it’s not the end of the world if your Facebook page chronically sends out quotes (read: spams your friends feeds) from Sex and the City or Star Wars, but it’s annoying. And it may make your current or future employer take you less seriously. Would YOU want Yoda’s wannabe protégé conducting lab tests on cancerous cells?
Know What Your Networks Can See
The default network setting is anyone in your network (university, company or geographical location) can access your full profile. Bear in mind that you never know how strangers are using information they access on your profile—Miss New Jersey 2007 was blackmailed with photographs she had on her Facebook.
Filter Fan Pages and Groups
Go through your fan pages and groups and ask yourself, “Does anything come off racist, homophobic or inappropriate?” If so, delete it!
Want to keep it easy and simple?
Change your privacy settings to make your profile inaccessible by anyone who’s not your friend and create a “Limited List” that keeps your profile Rated G for all your co-workers.
All this doesn’t mean Facebook is out to doom your career! A University of Wisconsin study revealed that people who use social networking sites are more likely to get jobs. The study further revealed that most profiles are based in three formats—family/friend oriented, business oriented and alcohol oriented. Needless to say, employers looked down on alcohol oriented profiles, but treated the other two equally—so you can be yourself without it costing your job!