5 tips to keep your Facebook profile from hurting your job search


If you think friends are the only ones checking out your Facebook profile and status updates, think again. Without the proper privacy settings, current or prospective employers can view everything you post on Facebook.

Social media sites like Facebook give users a false sense of privacy and freedom. Writing two random sentences about being “totally wasted” on Saturday night seems harmless. But written words cause just as much damage as spoken ones.

It’s time to start looking at your online presence from an employer’s perspective. Here are five ways to keep your Facebook page from being flagged by employers.

1. Use a flattering profile picture.

If your profile picture is of yourself, don’t use one taken at Saturday night’s party. Use a nice photo and consider cropping to a good headshot. Hint: Don’t take an Instagram using your bathroom mirror reflection or “extended arms” method. Ask a friend to snap the shot.

Positive and fun profile pictures of other people, places and things are also fine. Took a beach vacation this summer? Use a picture of the ocean rather than the close up shot of your sunburn.

 2. Untag those unfavorable photos.

Friends have a funny way of having a camera handy at our most embarrassing times. While these “oops” moments make for a good laugh among each other, delete the evidence posted on Facebook. Not everyone will find them funny.

3. Avoid discriminatory remarks.

Don’t post sexist, racist or other discriminatory comments. They don’t reflect your opinion, they show poor judgment.

 4. Check your apps, groups, and “liked” pages.

Does their purpose and profile portray you favorably?

 5. Ask yourself before posting: “How would my (parents, professors, employers) react to this?”

Don’t post anything you wouldn’t say or write to someone whose opinion you value. Status updates can be funny without profanity and make a point without being rude. If you’re unsure whether or not to write the post in the first place, that likely means you shouldn’t.

When using Facebook, double check your privacy settings. You can do this by clicking on the downward facing arrow in the top right hand corner of your Facebook page (next to the “Home” tab). Right click on the arrow, scroll down and select “privacy settings.” Here’s where you control who sees what. Make sure only friends can see your photos and posts.

Facebook is a great way to connect with friends and family, engage in dialogue and share items and observations that are important and interesting to you. You can do all of the above without being rude, offensive, inflammatory or ignorant. Think before your post: Your job search thanks you!

Common lies told on resumes – and why honesty is always the best policy!

Recently we posted a great article on the Career Service’s Pinterest page that hits home the importance of being honest when writing your resume. Check out the article about a job seeker’s moment of truth, when he had to choose whether or not to lie about his education background.

In a competitive job market, resumes must stand out. But lying about your background and qualifications only distinguishes your application for all the wrong reasons.

Here are four falsehoods frequently found on resumes:

1. Dates of employment

If you worked at a company for a year, don’t say you worked there for three. If a background or reference check shows a discrepency in your actual dates of employment vs. what’s listed on your resume – and they will – it’s a guarantee you won’t be offered the job. If on the rare occasion the lie passes the background check, it will come back to haunt you someday in the lunchroom when you’re talking about where you’ve previously worked.

Some students offer this rebuttle: “I worked at a company for six months, but my supervisor agreed to say I worked there for a year.”

Think about the position you’re putting your supervisor in, even if he or she offered. You’re asking someone to lie on your behalf. A better approach is to ask your supervisor to serve as a great reference for the six months you worked there.

2. Education

Even CEO’s get fired for fabricating their education. Just ask former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson, whose resume indicated he held a bachelor’s degree in both computer science and accounting. His degree is in accounting only and Thompson got the boot after only four months on the job.

Employers want to know what degree you earned, when you earned it, and where you earned it from. Check out your CPCC program’s webpage, where it tells you the specific degree you’re earning.

There’s a difference between earning a degree and completing coursework. Unless you have a degree in hand or transcript indicating you graduated, don’t say you earned a degree.

A great GPA makes a resume stand out. A call to the college that disputes your 3.8 GPA is really a 2.8 sends the resume to the rejection pile.

Some applicants “update” a graduation date, fearing a degree earned 20 years ago opens the door for age discrimination. Take pride in the degree you earned, and the work experience you’ve built since.

3. Job title

“Even though my title wasn’t manager, with my job duties I can say I was one.” Actually, you can’t. List the job title that you were hired for. If you performed duties commonly associated with managers (supervising, assigning tasks, etc.), reference them in the responsibilities listed under your job title.

4. Job duties, skills and accomplishments

Taking one semester of French doesn’t count as being “fluent.” Using Excel once in a computer class doesn’t mean you are “proficient in Excel.”

List job duties, skills and accomplishments that you can back up with concrete examples in an interview. Did you increase sales at your previous job by 80%? Because if you say you did, this new employer will expect you to do the same thing.

Bottom line: If you’re thinking about embellishing your resume, even just a bit, don’t do it.