As much as you may want to resist giving your Facebook page a professional makeover, we cannot overlook its potential as the largest network of them all in the job search.
Recently, LinkedIn has recorded 150 million members and Twitter claims to have 140 million active users. But Facebook is the social media powerhouse home to 845 million users.
Company presence on Facebook is growing rapidly and you better believe hiring managers are going to browse through your profile to see if you are a good fit for their position. Rather than viewing this as a threatening reality, turn the tables around and recognize Facebook as an invaluable tool to land your next job.
1. Choose your profile picture and cover photo wisely. A picture speaks a thousand words. Unless you specifically changed your privacy settings, an employer’s first judgment of you on Facebook comes from these two chosen pictures.
To make a thoughtful decision, ask yourself if you would mind having this picture represent you if you were to inquire about a job posting on the company’s Facebook page. As for your cover photo, don’t be afraid to use this to express yourself (appropriately). If you dream of living and working in the Big Apple someday, your employers in NYC will be sure to notice the city skyline as your cover photo.
2. Be a known job hunter. People we friend on Facebook are typically individuals whom we know well. Who better to help you in your job search than people you have already established a relationship with?
Update your network of your current job search frequently via Facebook statuses or even personal messages. Your closest friends and family, and even friends of friends will now know you are on the job hunt. This is networking at its finest. As word of mouth is still the best way to land your next job, you never know who might have a good lead.
3. Optimize your profile. Be sure your profile is up-to-date and use the information section to your advantage. Update it with your job history and link your network to your personal work (online portfolios, blogs, etc.). While you may choose to have photos tagged of you set to “friends only”, make the professional aspects of your Facebook profile public for potential employers to view.
4. “Like” ideal companies in your industry. By “liking” company pages, you will now be presented with recent news and job openings directly on your Facebook feed. Do not hesitate to participate in conversations by commenting on interesting stories and posts to increase your visibility with employees at the company. Also, as the company shares their trends and happenings with you, you will begin to discover the company culture.
5. “Friend” using discretion. Although it may not be in your best interest to connect with every potential client or hiring manager you come across on Facebook, doing so in moderation can help accelerate your job search. “Friend” the individuals you know personally or have a relationship with already to strengthen your professional network.
5. Manage your privacy settings. Facebook’s ever-changing policies make it difficult for users to stay current with the best ways to protect personal information. According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, nearly 13 million U.S. Facebook users are not aware of the social network’s privacy control settings or simply don’t use them at all. The confusing nature of the policies and controls may be the reason millions of Facebook users ignore the privacy settings, but here are simple rules to abide by:
- If you want to utilize Facebook in your job search, let employers find you.
- Don’t be unsearchable; rather, limit the content visible to certain parties.
- Choose “friends only” in your privacy settings for information you do not want to be made public. That way, your employer will not come across photos tagged of you or inappropriate comments posted on your wall by your friends when they search you on Facebook.
6. Don’t lose yourself. This may come as a surprise to you, but making your Facebook a valuable job search tool does not mean you have to adopt the “old-school” mentality and take all of the fun out of one of your favorite pastimes.
When making your profile professional, be sure not to wipe out your character. According to a young female working as a gatekeeper to employment for thousands of New Yorkers, “There’s a sense that a profile with no character has probably been scraped of some racy stuff or else the person has no social skills and won’t fit in.” With all of this talk of building a professional character on your Facebook page, do not forget to express yourself along the way.
7. Remember, you have options. If you are still hesitant to make your personal profile public, create a page instead. By creating a Facebook page, you can display any information you’d like a potential employer to see such as a biography, skills, websites, contact information, and more. You can also link to other pages you “like” by clicking “Add to my page’s favorites” on the chosen page to clearly define your network.
Last but not least, no whining or negativity allowed! Make a note-to-self not to fall victim to the most common mistakes job seekers make on Facebook.
If you are not careful, Facebook can be the downfall in landing your next job. Keep it appropriate and leverage it to be a force in your job search.
What does Facebook mean to you? How have you leveraged the largest social network in your job search? Let us know below.