I recently did a presentation at a College about getting your social media profile job ready. This was a great presentation because the students had a lot of questions about how far they should go to “sanitize” their Facebook pages as they transition into the workplace. Should they create a fake profile? Should they delete their profile? Do they have to accept their boss as a friend?
College students are all over social media and social networks, because they are a great place to connect with friends and family, but posting on social networks can also create some unique issues when entering the job market and transitioning into a professional.
When you begin your job search and start your first job, you may find that employers and coworkers want to connect with you on social media. Are your social media profiles job ready?
The walls between private and the workplace are falling
It used to be that you were judged based on your resume, interview and appearance. What you did on your own time was completely irrelevant. Now employers Google you and bosses request you as a friend on Facebook. The rules have changed. While you may view your Facebook page as totally personal, the walls are falling between personal and professional. Employers, customers and suppliers can peer into your personal life based on what you post on social networks.
Look at Your Privacy Settings
Many recruiters will look up candidates on social networks, but they usually won’t go as far as creating a fake profile and a friend request. They typically look at what you have publicly available. Make sure that the information that is viewable to the public is employer friendly.
If you do start adding coworkers, customers, suppliers or bosses, be sure to manage your privacy settings so that you know what different groups of friends on Facebook can see. You can make different parts of your profile available to friends, family or work related contacts. Use this functionality.
Set up Professional Social Networks
Set up a profile on a professional social network like LinkedIn to connect with your professional contacts. This provides them with an opportunity to see the professional side of you as well as the personal information that you may share on Facebook. Building your network on LinkedIn is also valuable for your career to track business contacts and grow your network.
Facebook is Like Your Living Room
If your boss is coming over you wouldn’t rent a fake house, but you might want to clean up a little bit. When someone enters your living-room they know that it is your house and it expresses your personality. But you still wouldn’t want signs of partying and drinking or anything illegal out. Think of Facebook this way and clean up a bit.
Set expectations with people on Facebook as to what is and isn’t appropriate. Let your friends know what kinds of photos and videos are appropriate to share and what you may or may not want them to post on your wall.
You can also set expectations with your co-workers. Let them know that LinkedIn is your professional social network, but if they would like to connect on Facebook they will see more of your personal life.
Balance what you Post
Keep in mind that people will judge you based on what you post. Balance what you post about. If you post about your personal activities also be sure to post about some of your professional interests.
Be Careful What you Post
If you go out late on weekdays you may want to keep it off of your social networks. Even if it doesn’t impact your performance at work it could create a negative impression. Think about the impressions that you create when you post on social networks.
I once saw a post of someone who said that he was hungover and called in sick to work. A co-worker showed the post to his boss and he was deducted pay for the day. Even if your boss isn’t your friend, don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want them to see.