This is not the first time I have talked about Facebook and your job search. The topic is one of those that refuses to go away for job seekers, however much they might want it to! However, this tip actually is not one of mine; it comes from a blog post by Joshus Waldman of Career Rocketeer, titled “How to Protect Your Private Life on Facebook During Your Job Search.” If you are not using Facebook at this point, the tip might still prove useful in the future.
Of course, the simplest way would be just to not participate on Facebook at all, but that’s probably a bit extreme. Whether or not you actively use Facebook as a tool in your job search (some do, some don’t), you don’t necessarily want to exclude yourself from it just because you happen to be conducting a job search. While there’s more than one approach you can take to participating, one no-brainer is to consider carefully before you post personal items you might not want prospective employers to see. This also requires reminding yourself that anything on the Internet has–or at least can have–a life that goes on practically forever. I’ve talked before about protecting yourself and your online reputation by using various means to drive potentially negative information way down in the search results, but it’s certainly much preferable to keep such information from appearing in the first place, if you have the choice.
Waldman has written a new book called Job Searching With Social Media For Dummies, and his post refers to information that appears in that book. In particular, he talks about what you can do if you receive a Facebook “friend” request from someone who’s a recruiter at your dream company. If you’re uncomfortable giving that recruiter access to all the material you post on Facebook but don’t want to make him angry at you, what do you do? Briefly, this is what Waldman recommends:
Caution: Facebook doesn’t have the best reputation in the world for managing its privacy settings as carefully and consistently as you might like, so I suggest checking periodically to make sure they’re still the way you want them. That applies especially to situations such as maintaining a Limited Access friends list. You want to avoid inadvertently granting access to your “excluded” information by assuming that your privacy settings will remain the way you established them.