Job Search Answers – Should I set my Facebook settings to private?

Nov 10 2011 in reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

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At the end of my Resume Revolution complimentary webinars (enroll at, I open up the floor to job search questions … from you.

Occasionally, I’ll also answer especially interesting questions posted on my Linkedin group, Career Central ( or reCareered’s Facebook page (

This was an interesting job search question asked by K.W. just after a recent webinar:

“You stated that employers look at your social media accounts to get information about you and certain things in your profile can be used against you. What if you have your Facebook setting to private? Does that go against you? Not that I have anything bad on my profile but I prefer to keep my Facebook for friends only. A Facebook friend can make a political comment or post a picture of themselves that others might not like and the last thing I want is an employer going into my Facebook and judging me based on what a relative or friend posts.”

There are really two questions here:

Question 1: Should I set my Facebook settings to private if I’m searching for a job?

Keeping your Facebook settings private brings some basic problems for job seekers. If your settings are private, then you don’t show up in employer and recruiter searches, based on your profile (in the info tab under employment).

Even worse, if an employer can’t see your details on Facebook, you lose an important tool to sell yourself and build subject matter expertise. As I discuss in , a high percentage of employers make hiring decisions based on positive things they see on Facebook and other social networks. If you think that Facebook isn’t important to employers, read click the link and see just how many review Facebook and how many review your social media before deciding to give you an interview.

Sure it’s fun to communicate without a filter, be politically and socially incorrect and doing it publicly. But first, you’ve got to ask yourself, is that more important to you than your career?

So why would you give up that opportunity? Isn’t it worth scrubbing your Facebook wall, to remove anything you wouldn’t want your Mom or boss to see?

Question 2: How can I keep employers from seeing my friends posts on my profile?

That’s a big misconception. Others can’t see what your friends post to their own walls, unless they have posted to your wall or unless you are tagged to that post (or picture). You can delete from your wall any posts your friends have made or ones you’ve made to your friends’ walls, but still leave those posts on your friends’ walls (it just deletes from yours). Finally, you can set privacy for individual posts on your wall or where you’ve been tagged – allowing the really juicy stuff to just be seen by friends. Comments to your own postings are a bit different – as of this writing, you can either leave them or delete them.

It’s also a wise idea to set your Facebook privacy settings to require your approval on any content that tags you – posts, pictures, videos, notes, etc.

Even with all the control you have over Facebook settings, it’s a good idea that if you don’t want employers to see something, don’t post it or delete what others have posted. Facebook privacy has gotten very complicated, and it’s easy to make mistakes that could cost you interviews and jobs.

The real issue here is deciding what’s more important to you … using all possible resources to help you find your next job? Or publicly posting inappropriate comments, pictures, or videos?


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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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