Where CVs and Social Networks Collide: Make Sure Facebook Isn't Ruining Your Job Prospects
We've all been there - after weeks of procrastination, finally settling down to craft the perfect CV that will land us the perfect job, but secretly thinking "I'd much rather be on Facebook right now". Well, the HR manager reading your application might prefer to be on Facebook too. Your Facebook, that is. Recruiters these days are a resourceful and tech-savvy breed, and it only takes a few clicks of a button to successfully track down a member of the world's most ubiquitous social network. So if you've crafted the perfect CV, don't let Facebook land you in a perfect mess - keep your Facebook profile fun, friendly and fiercely private!
Being a predominantly social platform, there's no harm in a bit of frivolity on Facebook - that's what it's there for. The trouble is, what you consider footloose frolics, your would-be boss might consider feckless follies. "A picture is worth a thousand words" - so, if the words evoked are 'tipsy', 'inebriated', 'intoxicated' or the 997 other variants of the word 'drunk', ensure said picture remains inaccessible to the public. Be especially wary of photos of you tagged by others and ensure that these are not visible to non-friends. Remember that cover photos, containing the biggest and most immediate photo available on your profile, are invariably public, along with all associated comments. Opt for family-friendly snaps here where possible. Bear in mind that friends of yours might have personal photos of you freely available on their openly accessible profiles, so consider restricting access to your list of Facebook friends (typically presented as public by default).
More introverted individuals can breathe a sigh of relief at having curbed the incriminating camera. But it's not just dubious images that you need to be concerned with in protecting your privacy on Facebook. Even a status update from eons ago carries the potential to create a negative impact today. How about that time you had a rough day at the office with no means to vent, other than to whip out your smartphone, log into Facebook and announce to the world 'I hate my job'? A fairly harmless if not humdrum utterance by most people's standards - that is, until your prospective employer takes it an indication of your work ethic. Ensure status updates are accessible to friends only. Clear your page of controversial statements - when commented upon, they can become visible elsewhere. It might sound far-fetched, but even your list of 'liked' pages says something about you - so if there's anything risqu� in the mix, block this list from public consumption.
More extreme methods of safeguarding your CV from Facebook contamination include changing your name or removing your profile from the web site's search engine. Do what makes you feel comfortable, but the good news is that most of our Facebook profiles are not as incriminating as we might initially fear. It can be argued that Facebook may be used to convey a sociable personality to recruiters in a way that is not possible in a CV. Some might even turn the game around by carefully cherry-picking content that presents them in a positive light and making them publicly available. Not a bad idea, though this energy might be better spent on the CV itself. A good work-life balance is crucial so keep both your professional and personal profiles active and up-to-date. Just use common sense and keep them separate insofar as possible. Facebook is designed to be fun so keep it that way - don't let it interfere with your job prospects.
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