Can Facebook Harm Your Job Search?

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For years now, as social media has proliferated, we’ve been hearing more and more about how what you do online can be viewed and viewed negatively by your boss… or by a prospective boss.
But what about Facebook? After all, can’t you control who sees what on Facebook?
Well, if you’re doing a job search, you’d certainly better hope so.
According to new research by Microsoft, if HR people can check your Facebook page, then they probably will. And what they find there can have an impact on your chances of getting hired. In other words, Facebook can have an impact on your job search.
(via GigaOM)
“…the top online factors for rejecting a job applicant are unsuitable photos/videos, concerns about a candidate’s lifestyle and inappropriate comments written by the candidate.
The survey also found that not only are HR staffers search for information about job applicants online, most of their companies have made online screening a formal requirement of the hiring process. Recruiters and HR professionals also said that they believe the use of online-reputation information will significantly increase over the next five years. And while the survey found that most consumers manage their reputation at least to some extent, a significant percentage (between 30 and 35 percent depending on nationality) “don’t feel their online reputation affects either their personal or professional life [and] consequently, they are not taking steps to manage their reputations.”
So, obviously, the key takeaway here is that you should be aware of your privacy controls, and definitely make use of them. This article from last week’s New York Times is invaluable: The 3 Facebook Setting Every User Should Check Now.
Because, the other point to keep in mind is, your online profile can actually help your job search in a lot of ways. As the article says:
“Our research shows that managing your online reputation can be a significant benefit. Everyone should think critically about the image they’re digitally portraying,” Peter Cullen, Microsoft’s chief privacy strategist, said in a statement.
If you’re not using social media as a part of your job search, then you’re not taking advantage of all the modern tools available.
Just make sure those tools are helping you, and not hurting.
And, as I always say at the end, don’t forget the invaluable job search tool of resume writing.
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