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!