How to Get Hired Using Social Media: Facebook (Part 2)

Facebook, The Social Interview.

As we saw last week, the majority of people who found jobs through social networking sites did so through Facebook. Facebook has a reputation for being a breeding ground for stalkers and a large contributor to decreased productivity, yet it can be a powerful tool for professional networking. Your Facebook profile is one of the most important aspects of your social presence as it is your most public.

If you’re applying for a job, employers will find you on Facebook. Making your profile completely private is not the answer. Hiding information is the number one hint that you have something to hide. Instead, optimize your page and make it a “social interview”, a way for employers to get to know you.

Perfecting your Facebook Presence
Facebook is cram-packed with possibilities for showing your personality in a professional, yet “realistic” manner. For instance, your profile picture does not need to be a business headshot. A photograph that makes a statement about who you are as a person is a great way to differentiate yourself. Put up a picture that you think defines you, but an appropriate and employable you. Additionally, a photograph in which you’re smiling is even more beneficial.

Your ‘About’ section is the next area you should refine. Fill in as much information as possible with possibly a few exclusions. Depending on what job you are applying for, you may want to exclude Religious Beliefs and Political Views. Employers do not have the right to know this. You might also want to exclude your birth year if you believe this may hinder your possibility of being hired.

Things you might want to include in your ‘About’ section are:

  • A short summary of the aspects of your life that you would like to project.
  • A few intellectual quotes in the Favorite Quotations section
  • Any employment/education history that you would include on your resume
  • As much contact information as you are comfortable with
  • A link to your other social networking sites

Your ‘Likes’ section is another opportunity to say a lot about who you are. Try to choose 5 things for each of the categories: music, books, movies, television, games, athletes, sports teams, activities, interests, and inspirational people. Your choices for these say a lot about whom you are so choose wisely. Be aware that if you “like” a page and it falls underneath any of these categories, it will automatically come up as one of your favorites, so make sure you monitor that.

The most important aspect is your timeline. You may be serious about your Facebook presence but your friends may not. Make sure you check it often and delete anything that may appear the least bit offensive or inappropriate. If someone posts something you do not want on your wall, message them and tell them that you are looking for a job and are trying to keep your Facebook professional. They will most likely be very understanding.

The same goes for photographs. You can either make your settings so that no one can tag you in a photograph without your approval or you can simply tell someone who is taking photographs of you not to tag you in them. Facebook photos present some of the most incriminating evidence, and have caused many people to lose their jobs, so be very careful.

Facebook Timeline
Your Facebook Cover Photo is the equivalent of your interview outfit. It is a powerfully large image that allows you to give a graphic representation of your personality. Although it is preferable to create your own image, there are many stock cover photo image website. This image is 850 x 315 pixels, but can be adjusted if the image is larger.

Facebook Timeline also allows you to create “life events” which are under the categories of Work & Education, Family & Relationships, Home & Living, Health & Wellness, and Travel & Experiences. This is a tool that is very seldom used by the majority of Facebook users. This is just another opportunity for you to show your personality and experience.

What to Say in a Status Update
Your status updates are something that can reinforce your desired social presence to your friends as often as you please. Posting interesting articles, funny videos, old photographs or meaningful quotes are great ways to make you more personable on Facebook. The quality of your posts will often make people more likely to listen when you actually need something from them, such as a job. Here are some more tips to optimizing your status updates:

  • Do not post too often or you may be unfriended
  • Your posts should be non-controversial so you do not offend anyone
  • Double check your spelling and grammar
  • Add a comment along with any link that you post

Use the Social Network for Networking
Expand your Facebook network by adding people you meet both online and offline. Every Facebook friend you have is a potential connection for a professional networking opportunity. The boy you sat next to in sixth grade math class may own a Fortune 500 company some day. Does that not sound like someone you might want to have as a Facebook friend? The “unfriend” button is your worst enemy.

Stay active with all of your friends. Try to “like” and comment on their posts and photos when you see fit. If you read an article that you think someone may enjoy, share it with him or her! Show genuine interest in your friends and their lives, and hopefully they will do the same in return.

Utilizing Facebook Fan Pages
Find recruiters and recruitment companies and “like” their pages to get updates on job postings. Many companies, such as Ernst & Young and Walmart have fan pages specifically for recruitment. Search to see if companies that you would like to work for have something similar. Lastly, there are many Facebook fan pages that give great advice for your job hunt, such as Monster.com (or University Ave).

Conclusion
Facebook is the social media equivalent to a first-impression. Additionally, it is a great tool for networking and searching for jobs, but it is only the first step to creating an outstanding social presence.

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