You put a lot of time into making sure your resume and cover letter are perfectly aligned with the job you are applying for and represent your best self. A great resume is the first step to securing an interview for your dream job—but it doesn’t end there.
In this day and age of social media, you should assume your potential employer will check your Facebook profile and other social media accounts before making the decision to hire you. Find out how to maintain a good image online so you appeal to those making the hiring decisions!
Check Privacy Settings
You may think you’re safe from potential employers looking through your profile because you set it to be private, but it’s worth double-checking your settings to see what others can actually see. Odds are a lot more information is public than you think!
It’s not necessary to make yourself completely unable to be found, but it’s also not necessary to make your profile totally public and available for anyone to view everything you’ve ever posted. Just make sure the pictures and information available will only help you professionally.
Luckily, Facebook makes it easy to check the privacy settings on your account. Once you log in, click the lock icon in the top-right corner and you will be able to view your current privacy settings and make changes as you see fit. If you’re wondering what, if anything, you should make public, it is most common to have public basic information about yourself (hometown, college attended, birth date without the year, etc.) along with a public profile picture.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Even if you’ve come a long way since your partying days in college, your employer won’t know that if they find several pictures of you with drinks in hand. Most employers will understand that college students typically grow out of old ways after graduation, but they also want an employee they can be sure will be a good representative for their respective company and someone who is a good citizen in general. Any photos that suggest otherwise may cause them to change their mind about you.
A 2012 study found that 37% of employers check social media accounts before making hiring decisions, and 65% of those choose Facebook as their primary resource. In the same study, 34% of hiring managers said they came across a reason on social media not to hire a person. In almost half of these cases, it was due to a provocative picture or references to drugs or alcohol.
With college and the endless parties behind you, do your professional self a favor and take down pictures that involve alcohol or drugs of any kind. Then use common sense while looking through the rest of your pictures and ask yourself if you would hire yourself based on your pictures alone.
Remember, just because your profile is set to private doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed no one outside of your “friends” will see it. It’s better to be safe than sorry when beginning a new career or entering the professional world. Let your qualifications do the talking and avoid posting any potential red flags.