According to a recent study from Northern Illinois University, the University of Evansville, and Auburn University, a job seeker’s Facebook profile can accurately predict job performance.
That’s right. Your Facebook profile is doing a lot of talking for you in the job search.
In the study, it was found that social networking website profile ratings directly correlated to job performance, hirability, and academic performance criteria.
We already know that employers are Googling and Facebook stalking their candidates. With these recent findings, job seekers should be even more careful about what they put on the World Wide Web.
Sure, you think you’ve done a good job cleaning your profiles. You sanitized your profile pics and activity feed, and then quietly exorcised those friends who suffer from diarrhea of the mouth and the non-clinical form of Tourette’s Syndrome. Is that enough?
Check out the five tips we’ve found to be the most helpful when it comes to Facebook and the job search:
Before you do anything, visit your profile’s privacy settings page. If you haven’t updated your settings in a while, you’ll see that things have gotten a lot more complex – hopefully, in a good way!
Currently, Facebook’s privacy settings have a pretty neat feature. You can set a blanket rule (such as, only friends can see your status updates) and then make exceptions down the road (so you can make one or more status updates more/less visible). My recommendation is to lean towards more restrictive, less visible settings, you can always ease up later.
Beyond your privacy settings, savvy Facebook users will organize their friends into groups (not unlike G+’s circles, and Cachinko’s groups and talent networks). Consider having groups of professional contacts, school contacts, personal friends, etc.
Have a friend who loves to post inappropriate pictures/comments on your wall? Limit their access so you don’t have a surprise waiting for you when you sign in.
A great rule to live by on Facebook is what I like to call, “The Grandma Rule.” If you can’t show something to Grandma, it doesn’t belong on Facebook.
No matter how tightly locked up your Facebook profile is, you don’t want to risk offending an employer with a risqué comment or R-rated photo.
Check out: A Job Seeker’s Guide to Facebook Timeline
A Facebook feature we often forget about is the “About” section. This is where you can share who you are and what you like, so don’t neglect to fill it out! Sharing your favorite movies, books, and quotes allow employers to see beyond your resume and learn about you.
Last, but not least, don’t be afraid to be yourself on Facebook! Sure, all these rules, suggestions, and tips make it seem like you can’t step out of line, march to a different drummer, and whatever other cliche might befit this purpose, but remember, Facebook is meant to be a social, fun place.
Don’t be afraid to have vacation photos on your profile and friendly comments on your timeline. The key is to balance your social life and your professional brand. In the end, unifying your personal and professional brand will put you in a much better place.
According to Susan Adams with Forbes, job seekers should definitely fill out their profile with professional work history. Says Adams, “I think of LinkedIn as the place where my online résumé resides, since the profile page is laid out like a C.V., with slots for a summary of your professional life, your list of jobs and your academic credentials. Unlike Facebook it doesn’t invite you to add stuff that’s not directly relevant to your job history, like your favorite movies, TV shows, books and music. But Facebook has an elegant, easy way to add your work credentials. Just click on “edit profile,” and the top of the screen lists ‘Work and Education.’ I’ve only ever listed my current job and the position I had before this one, with no description of my duties and accomplishments, but Facebook has slots for those details. If you want to make yourself known to the 65% of recruiters who troll for job candidates on Facebook, take a few minutes to fill out this information. You can even cut and paste from your LinkedIn profile, though I’d suggest a shorter version for Facebook.”