5-Step Facebook Makeover for Your Job Search
With more than 550 million active users, if Facebook was a country, it would be the third largest behind only China and India. Facebook’s stats make it a hard-to-ignore social network for job seekers. The irony of recommending my clients consider using Facebook for professional networking does not escape me.
Recently, someone who was contracting me for some workshops assumed that, when I suggested we incorporate something about social networking for job seekers that I was planning to tell participants what NOT to do online, what to avoid, and how not to wind up getting fired because of what they posted on Facebook. But careful use of Facebook can help a job search.
While it is not my favorite network for jobseekers (that would be Twitter), with foresight and planning, anyone can create a professional Facebook presence that they would be proud to have recruiters or prospective bosses view.
If you focus on how your Facebook page can look as professional as your LinkedIn site, you may be surprised by the ways you may be able to leverage it.
Start with your photo.
Post a picture of your face (just you), in professional or business casual attire. Do not use a picture of your infant or children as your profile photo.
The site is about you, and if you want a business makeover, it starts with the first impression. Review all of the pictures you share on the site, including ones where you are tagged.
Remove or un-tag any that might seem compromising. Take down pictures you wouldn’t want your next boss to see.
Visit Profile, Privacy settings.
This is crucial to help control what people may find out about you online, but I always advise: assume everything you post is public information.
Facebook consistently adjusts the default settings to allow access to various parts of your profile. If you are not monitoring news about Facebook updates consistently, you may learn too late that information you assumed was private is suddenly available for public consumption.
I recommend you select Customize Settings (at the bottom of the Privacy settings) and select the appropriate targets for each category.
Except for the “bio and favorite quotation” and “website” categories, I would suggest restricting visitors to “Friends Only.” If you leave your bio and website open, everyone will be able to learn something that you decide to share about yourself.
You may also consider sharing a way to contact you with the public, such as an email address. You never know when a friend or a recruiter may be using Facebook to identify candidates.
Allowing your bio to be public will allow it to be searched by various applications that help friends connect on Facebook and network for business, such as Jibe.com and SimplyHired.com’s Facebook integration system.
Fill in the Bio and the Work and Education.
Focus on including the keywords you want people to use to find you.
These may include job titles, specific skills, software systems, any words that appear in job descriptions of interest to you – include these in your profile and job descriptions, just as you would in your resume and in your LinkedIn profile.
If you don’t know what keywords to include, study job descriptions that interest you and highlight all of the words that describe what the employer wants; use those words to bolster your Facebook profile.
Publish status updates for your professional/job search network.
Once your profile is as secure as possible (except for the professional areas that you open to everyone), it’s time to start thinking about how to use status updates to help position yourself as an expert.
Instead of posting about your dinner menu and the score to your team’s latest win, consider how you may use your updates to appeal to friends who may be great networking contacts:
Share links to articles in your field (and comment on them)
Comment on the news of the day (as it relates to your profession) and make a point to sound like an expert.
Mention what conferences interest you or that you are attending.
Mention the relevant books you are reading.
Name the people you are meeting who would be of interest to your network.
Your friends will notice, and some may take an interest.
Carefully (!) consider making your job search public.
It’s a good idea to use your status update to tell your network when you are in the market for an opportunity, or if you are looking to meet someone in a particular field or company.
As long as you recognize that your posts are not necessarily private (so don’t announce you are job hunting if you do not want your current boss to know – even if you are not friends with the boss on Facebook).
You may be surprised that your friends and connections may be more than willing to assist and connect you with people for informational meetings and other professional meetings when you let them know you are looking.
These are just a few steps to take to help use your Facebook profile for professional networking. Give yourself a Facebook makeover and stay tuned for more details about how to make the largest social network in the world work for you!
© Copyright Miriam Salpeter, 2010. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Miriam Salpeter is a Career Action Coach and Owner of Keppie Careers. With a master’s degree from Columbia University and over 12 years of experience, her mission is to encourage, enlighten and empower job seekers and entrepreneurs for success. She teaches best practices to land great career opportunities and offers clients clarity, confidence, and social media know-how. You may follow her @Keppie_Careers and join her Facebook community for frequent updates.