Many employers will Google candidates to gain insight into their character. Depending on your Facebook profile and timeline, this can help or hurt you in the job search process. If you have some unfortunate posts, here are 15 ways to clean up your Facebook profile and address your Facebook privacy. The tips apply to other social media platforms as well.
Check the locks
Look at your Facebook profile’s privacy settings. If you have not changed your settings in a long time, the default setting may be public. Facebook’s privacy settings are complex. Review your settings and select options that make your posts less visible to the public.
Consolidate your audience
Facebook users can put their friends into specific groups such as schoolmates, friends, or professional contacts. Do you have a group of people who post inappropriate comments and pictures? You can put them all in the same group and limit their ability to post on your wall.
The Grandma Rule
A standard to live by on social media is “The Grandma Rule.” In other words, if you do not want your grandma to see it, you should not post it. Regardless of your privacy settings, you do not want to offend an employer with a questionable photo or offensive comment.
The “About” section
Facebook users often ignore the public “About” section and leave it blank. Take the time to fill in your favorite books, movies, and quotes. This allows future employers to get a picture of who you are beyond your resume. In addition, make sure your work history and education sections match your resume.
If you have people who will not stop pestering you with inappropriate material, block them from your Facebook page. They will not be notified when they are blocked.
Do not tolerate inappropriate content posted to your wall as it will reflect poorly on you. If someone posts offensive material, delete the post and send a warning through a private message. If someone continues to post offensive content, consider unfriending the offender.
Approve tags before they appear on your timeline
While you may be extremely cautious about what you post on Facebook, your friends may not be as careful. If you are worried a friend may share an inappropriate photo of you, change your settings so you can review all content before it appears on your timeline.
Hide your friends’ posts from your timeline
Similarly, if you are concerned about what your friends may post to your timeline, change your settings so people cannot post to your timeline.
Search your old posts
Facebook posts may be leaked even if you have changed your privacy settings. Go back through all of your old posts and delete embarrassing past posts.
See what other people can see
After you verify your Facebook privacy settings are correct, look at what the public sees when they review your profile. To do this, go to your profile and click “View As” in the lower right-hand corner of your cover photo. You can scroll through your profile and see what anyone can view who is or is not connected with you on Facebook. Are there any posts that could be seen as offensive? If yes, change the post from “Public” to “Friends”, or better yet, delete the post altogether.
Change your search settings
By default, anyone who has your phone number or email address can locate your Facebook profile. If you want friends to be able to find you this way, you should keep this setting in place. Otherwise, you will want to go to your privacy settings and view the “Who can Look me Up?” setting. Think about changing your phone and email settings to just your friends or just unclick “Let other search engines link to your timeline.” Keep in mind that employers may still be able to find you; it will just take a little more prodding.
Change your name
If Facebook users do not want their employer to find them, they can change their name entirely. Facebook users can replace their surname with a nickname or their middle name. It may be harder for people to find you if you change your name on Facebook. Keep in mind that your original user name may still appear in the search function.
“Only Me” setting
Right before you submit a job application, you may want to change your timeline privacy settings so that only you can view your timeline. The “Only Me” setting includes the greatest amount of privacy control over your posts. If you change a post to “Only Me”, you can come back later and make it public or visible to friends only.
Many scams attempt to take advantage of Facebook users by playing to their security fears. One of the more recent scams promises to protect your privacy if you copy and paste a “Privacy Alert Notice” in your status. Do not trust third party apps to address your privacy concerns because, more often than not, they are completely ineffective.
Do not be nervous about being yourself on Facebook! These tips, suggestions, warnings, and privacy settings may feel daunting, but keep in mind that Facebook is intended to be a fun, social place. Do not fret about having innocent vacation photos on your profile or kind comments throughout your timeline.
Following these tips will help you improve your online presence. Be sure to review your digital identity on all your social media profiles when looking for a job.
Photo via Visualhunt