What Does Your Social Resume Look Like?
Guest post by Christopher Wallace
Your social media sites can speak more to your employability than a resume.
While social media makes it easy to keep up with family and friends, it has also turned our lives into open books. For the 900 million plus Facebook users around the world, a simple name search will turn up an entire timeline of life experiences – and not all of them are ones we might want to share with future employers.
Before applying for your next job, whether it’s an internal move or a jump to a new company, consider the resume you already have floating around on the internet. More and more, today’s companies are checking social media sites before contacting potential employees for their first interview. And if they come across content that they find disagreeable or feel would reflect poorly on their business, you might have lost a job before the first interview.
Facebook: Free and Clear
Along with the new timeline set up, Facebook has also improved its privacy settings. With more versatility on who sees what, your Facebook page has the potential to be a great tool in your job hunting efforts. But first, you’re going to have to slap on some gloves and grab a scrub brush. If you’ve been using Facebook since high school (it has been around since 2004), then there are probably a lot of posts, pictures and tags that are going to need your attention.
Start by cleaning up your privacy settings. Along with the option of making your posts visible to the public or just friends, you can also create custom privacy settings, with posts visible only to a customized list of friends and/or hidden from individuals or a customized list of others.
Additionally, under “Profile and Tagging” you can edit who posts on your wall and opt to permit tagged pictures or posts before they’re made public.
One of the most significant changes in Facebook’s privacy settings is the ability to limit the people who see your old posts. This can be done en masse by limiting old posts so only friends see it, but if you’re potential boss or employees of the company where you are applying are listed under friends, then it might be a good idea to go through and do a little hands-on cleaning. On each post you have the option to make it visible to the public, friends or only to one of your customized lists. If you’re concerned at all about any past posts, spend some time flipping through your page and specifying on potentially objectionable posts. This applies to post and picture tags as well.
Lastly, double check your personal profile. Update your settings so that only certain people can see specific sections. For example, you would want your potential employer to see your work history (and don’t forget to update it while you’re there), but you might not want him or her to see what bands you like or your personal philosophy. To change who sees these, just click the little world button next to the text form and select who can see that section.
Tidy up Twitter
If you’re a Tweeter, now would be a good time to go through your account and delete any old comments or pictures that might put your resume in a bad light. Think about it. A politically incorrect comment about the Japan tsunami last year lost comedian Gilbert Gottfried his job as the Aflac duck (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/gilbert-gottfried-fired-as-aflac-167382). A photo of Congressman Anthony Weiner (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Weiner_sexting_scandal) resulted in his letter of resignation being read on the floor of the House of Representatives less than a month later. While you may not be celebrity status, uncouth comments could leave a bad taste with your potential employers. To be on the safe side, visit your Twitter profile page and clean out old questionable comments by hovering your mouse over the message you’d like to delete. The option to delete will appear in the upper right hand corner of the post. While deleted updates might linger for a little in a Twitter search, the Twitter help center (http://support.twitter.com/articles/18906-how-to-delete-a-tweet#) notes that they will eventually clear out.
Un-pin your Pinterests
Pinterest is not something most people think about as a profile, but what you pin can say a lot about your personality. If you’ve pinned or re-pinned some pictures that might leave employers with less of a smile and more of a firing frown, it might be wise to un-pin them from your boards.
Before applying to that next job, consider all of the social media sites that you connect with and make sure you’re not potentially leaving the wrong impression with prospective employers. Be judicious in what you post and make sure those comments only intended for close friends aren’t reaching the wrong ears … or eyes.
Christopher Wallace is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing, one of the nation’s largest providers of promotional products for businesses large and small. Amsterdam specializes in custom pens and other promotional items such as calendars, laptop bags and T-shirts. Christopher regularly contributes to Amsterdam Printing’s blog.