If you have a Facebook account and are actively job hunting, you may be wondering about using Facebook for your job search. This choice is one you want to educate yourself on. There are pros and cons.
If you do decide to move forward using Facebook as a way to promote your professional qualifications, then you should know how recruiters use Facebook.
Facebook is the largest (1.8 billion members in January, 2017) and most used social network, where people spend more time than any other social network. According to a 2015 Pew Research study, 70% of Facebook users engage daily, versus only 13% of LinkedIn users. While many job seekers consider LinkedIn to be the professional network and place to be, it isn’t the only social network recruiters will use. 55% of recruiters use Facebook to recruit, according to Jobvite’s 2015 Recruiter Nation study.
Recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers seized the opportunity to create company career pages on Facebook in order to build a place where they could answer questions, discuss the company culture and share opportunities. They also use Facebook to share job leads.
These professionals have also discovered ways to search Facebook for candidates with hard-to-find skills and who may not be actively looking for jobs. Recruiters can search for profiles by education, geography, interests, even by past employer.
The importance of Facebook for recruiters means the smartest strategy for job seekers is to take advantage of recruiter interest in Facebook to help their job search.
Facebook has a reputation for changing privacy setting criteria. If you haven’t looked at yours in awhile, it would be wise to do so. You can change privacy settings by clicking on the lock icon on the top right of your screen. You’ll see the option for a “Privacy Checkup, “ “Who can see my stuff,” “Who can contact me” and “Who can look me up.” Click through each of these areas and make sure you have selected the best option for your situation. If you do decide you don’t want your information in your profile to be included in search results, be sure you select that option.
Many of the same “rules” used when completing your LinkedIn profile apply to your Facebook profile too. If you want people to find your profile on Facebook, one way to enhance your profile is to add past work history and professional skills to your “About” section.
These sections of your profile are public and cannot be changed by someone else.
It is a good idea to see what your public profile looks like when someone you don’t know views it. Click on the three dots after “View Activity Log” from your profile to select the public view. This only works from the desktop version of Facebook, not your mobile device.
Take note of the parts of your profile you want to make private or enhance.
You can control what you post or share as a status update on Facebook. Every time you add an update or share something on Facebook you have the opportunity to make it viewable to the “public,” “friends,” “only me,” or “other”.
If you see a globe next to the date in your update it is public, which means anyone and everyone can see your update and comment on it.
You may want to go back through what you’ve shared on Facebook to modify the settings on certain posts. You can change the posts setting by clicking on the inverted triangle and changing the post settings.
You should also realize that comments you post to public Facebook pages and public groups are also viewable to anyone.
When you add a status update, you can select who you want to see your update. It works like an email distribution list. Facebook sets up several lists for you already or you may decide to set up a list for your job search friends. Some list settings include:
To search for people you know on Facebook, go to the search bar within Facebook and type their name. You can also search for anyone who has included their place of work in their profile and have allowed their profiles to be searchable. Use “people who work at [insert any company you are interested in]”. This is a good way to find someone who works inside a company you are targeting.
You can follow the posts of people you’re interested in and will see their public status updates in your news feed. Consider following employees who work in target companies, recruiters or other people you are interested in.
Facebook isn’t a job board, but you can use its Groups feature to find people posting jobs in your field and geographic area. Chris Russell -- Job-Hunt's Facebook Expert, recruiter, and founder of CareerCloud -- recommends searching Facebook using your city and the word “jobs” to find groups that share job leads.
You can also “Like” company career pages. Companies create these pages to establish a talent community which serves as a pool of potential candidates and to improve the flow of information to interested candidates.
Some companies have also been using paid Facebook ads to promote job opportunities. Facebook ads can be customized to reach a very specific audience based on criteria like education level, geography, interests and more.
You may also discover job leads when friends and people you follow share job opportunities in their status updates.
As with any social network, it isn’t enough to lurk, you will want to use the platform to nurture and expand your connections. Facebook makes it easy to search for college classmates. Be sure you’ve added your college and even high school information if you want others to know what schools you attended. Consider joining Facebook groups for alumni as well.
Participate in discussions in groups or communities by your occupation and “like” a company’s page or join its career group to interact with employees managing those accounts.
Post status updates related to job search and your career interests so your Facebook friends and followers know you are actively and publicly looking for a new role.
It is important to remember that what you share on Facebook can either work for or against you. Avoid using profanity, sharing provocative or inappropriate photos or speaking negatively about your current or past employer. There are no guarantees of privacy in today’s hyper-connected social media world.
If you are actively job seeking or plan to, you should know how to put your best foot forward and use Facebook to network and uncover job opportunities.
Hannah Morgan, Job-Hunt’s Social Media Job Search Expert, maximizes her own personal branding and online visibility using social media platforms. She is a job search strategist and founder of CareerSherpa.net. Follow and connect with Hannah on Twitter (@careersherpa), Facebook (Career Sherpa), and Google Plus. To read more articles on how to use social media for job search, visit her site: Careersherpa.net.