Today, hiring managers find information about candidates from more places than their resume. Candidates, as well, have opportunities to market themselves in more places than just their resume.
Facebook, the 800 pound gorilla of social networking is an obvious place for job seekers to build your social brand.
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Yes, Linkedin is business oriented and doesn’t have games, but Facebook is 8 times the size of Linkedin. In addition, Facebook is the top website used to search for people. If you’re a candidate, you want to be searched for and want to be found.
With Facebook now over 400 million users, with a large percentage over 30, Facebook is a relevant job search tool for candidates.
While Linkedin can be very effective in promoting your professional skills, Facebook gives employers insight into into who you are as a person. Through effective use of Facebook’s privacy control, job seekers can separate what employers can see from what your friends see.
In addition, Facebook profiles are indexed by Google – which means if an employer Googles a job seeker by name, your Facebook profile will turn up as a result.
The greater number of friends you have, the more relevant your profile is to Google, and higher your profile will rank on Google results. The good news is that you can allow employers to find you and the information – that you control – on Facebook. The bad news is that you might also allow your stalker ex-boyfriend to find that same information.
Job seekers should assume that they will be searched online by recruiters, before an interview is scheduled, when making short list decisions, and before a final offer is extended. In addition, recruiters and HR departments are not just searching to find dirt, but are using Facebook and Google more frequently to find new candidates. There is a whole cottage industry that trains recruiters how to use Google, Linkedin, and Facebook to find candidates, especially passive candidates.
Assuming you don’t have any stalkers in the picture, here’s some steps of developing a controlled Facebook profile to brand yourself as a candidate.
Scrub your profile:
- Facebook Inventory: Most Facebook users assume that only their friends will see their wall, pictures, and posts. Once you start opening parts of your profile up, you’ll want to assume that anyone can see everything on your profile (I’ll explain how you can control what is public vs private below). By assuming that everything is public, you can avoid embarrassment later. Create a list (or spreadsheet) of everything on your Facebook page that you wouldn’t want your mom (or boss) to see (See: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/01/online-reputation-management-4-steps-to.html). If you’re especially fond of that picture of you dancing on the Coyote Ugly bar in a bra with a beer bottle in each hand – if you can’t bear to delete it, at least make sure you keep track of it, so you can mark it private, Dude.
- Clean it up: Better yet, delete those items.
- Mark items private: For those items you can’t bear to part with, mark them private, enabling only your friends to see them. If you leave embarrassing pictures or posts marked as private on Facebook, better make sure you don’t friend potential employers or your boss – because everyone you friend may be able to see the skeletons you’ve posted in your Facebook closet.
- Control the distribution of future posts:
- Avoid surprises: You can control who is allowed to post on your wall, and can approve pictures (where you are tagged) before they end up on your profile. You can adjust this though your account menu – privacy settings. I also recommend that you adjust your email notifications, so that Facebook sends an email when someone tags you to a picture or posts on your wall. This allows you know what’s on your profile and control distribution or delete as necessary.
- Summarize: Use the info tab as a summary of your work experience.
At the top of your Facebook wall (on your profile), there is a status box (it says “What’s on your mind?”). Just under your status box, there is a lock icon, with a dropdown arrow, allowing you distribution control over wall posts. You can customize to only post to friends, only to certain people, or to exclude certain people. The default is to everyone, but you can control this through Facebook privacy settings.
Build your professional profile:
- Active Candidates: make sure your info tab indicates you are looking for a job. This lets your friends know, without being a glommer (See: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/02/how-job-seekers-can-destroy-networking.html). Additionally, your long lost high school and college friends may stumble upon you and happen to work at a company that needs a person like you. Facebook can help this “luck” happen.
- Passive Candidates: Unless you want your boss to find out that you’re looking for a new job, don’t advertise it actively on Facebook. Instead use Facebook to broadcast your expertise.
Build your Facebook network:
ile (you can block this information in aggregate), so be careful about joining that group discussing cutting-edge basement weed farming techniques.
Build and promote your expertise:
Finally, a nod to the Facebook haters:
Facebook isn’t the silver bullet:
While Facebook can be an investment of time, it can help job seekers control and promote their personal brand very effectively, to a wide audience. Best yet, a well designed Facebook profile can get your information into the databases of hundreds of thousands of recruiters and HR staff, increasing your chances to “get lucky”.
Candidates, please comment with your suggestions. How can you use Facebook to build your own personal brand?
For access to more information: Become a fan of reCareered on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chicago-IL/reCareered/21126045429
Join Career Change Central on Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/e/gis/1800872
Email your request to phil.reCareered@gmail.com to enroll in a free group teleseminar “Accelerate Your Job Search – tools you can use”.
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