Facebook & Your Job Search

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Today’s college students are among the most adept users of current technologies, people who will soon be putting into practice these talents when they launch their careers. No longer should the term “emergent technology” be used to describe what many people take for granted today including various form of social media and social networking such as LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook.

Largest. Network. Ever.

FacebookWith more than 350 millions active users worldwide, this social networking site towers above all others, offering a great way for people to connect all over the world. Facebook says that 3.5 billion pieces of content are added each week in addition to at least 2.5 million photographs. But it is content and photographs which can cause trouble for career seeking users, something experts warn can scuttle your job search if not handled with care.

FYI, nobody is saying that you should avoid using Facebook. Facebook can be a wonderful tool to help you find work especially when you cross paths with recruiters. Importantly, you will want to keep the following in mind when using Facebook:

1. Your photographs – Do you really want to have everyone view your photos on Facebook? The temptation to draw a large crowd is there, but if you have a photo deemed too revealing, derogatory, or a containing a scene which would otherwise bring into question your judgment, then do not use them. As Facebook says, “…your name, profile photo, list of friends and pages you are a fan of, gender, geographic region, and networks you belong to are considered publicly available to everyone, including Facebook-enhanced applications, and therefore do not have privacy settings.” You can restrict people from finding this information through search, but you cannot stop people who visit your profile from reading or seeing everything else.

2. Your discussions – Telling people you are going on a job interview is usually harmless, but giving specific information such as where you are interviewing, your interviewer’s name, and other details should be left out. This is also important if you are already working someplace and your current employer would not be keen on you announcing your intent to leave the company. Monitor what you say online; if in doubt, then keep it out.

3. Your networks – As mentioned in the first point, Facebook makes public a lot of information about you. One area where users should always give due consideration to before signing up are the various networks or groups you can join. Many are perfectly harmless, some are fun, but there are always a few groups which raise eyebrows. Now, I would not tell you to stay away from a certain group, but if you were to join would you be happy to have that information shared with the world?

4. Your rights – Then there is a factor that no one can see at this point. That would be your rights as a Facebook user. Facebook changes its rules constantly and under their “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities” users grant Facebook, “…non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.” IP Content is described by Facebook as your photos and videos. Read the fine print and you discover that these same rights may not apply to other content especially if someone else decides to use what your wrote or share a link you posted.

Use Facebook Wisely

This admonition is not meant to scare you away from Facebook, but to remind you about something that effects all web users: your online “stuff” can leave a nasty trail in its wake. Do not give recruiters cause to pass you by if Facebook offers something to them that is a bit too telling.

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Categories: Career Planning