Facebook is most commonly known as the place to connect with friends, but don’t overlook the power of this network to build a personal professional brand.
Every day recruiters and hiring managers are using social networking platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram to scope out candidates. They may search by employer, keywords, geography, or some other combination of criteria.
You probably spent time optimizing your LinkedIn profile. You can use many of the same strategies to enhance your Facebook profile. Done well, it can supplement or, done right, replace a copy of your resume in a recruiter's or hiring manager's hands.
Here are some of the ways you can optimize your personal Facebook profile for job search. If you are publicly job-hunting (vs. a "stealth job search"), you can increase the likelihood of your Facebook profile showing up in search results if you take some time to review these options.
Your Facebook profile picture is the first thing someone sees when they look at your profile. It is also associated with the comments you make on Facebook. While you could use the same photo you used on LinkedIn, you may want to opt for a more casual shot. Whatever picture you choose, remember, these basic social media profile photo rules apply:
The cover photo is the large banner at the top of your profile and is prime real estate for promoting your personal brand. You could feature a recent trip, favorite activity, or an image that shows something you are interested in. Your current cover photo is public and viewable by anyone, so it is advisable that you select one you would be happy to talk about during an interview.
This section is immediately below your profile photo and most people don’t use the first text box. To create an intro, click “Describe Who You Are” below your profile picture. Use this section to feature a short description of who you are and perhaps your professional goals. You might include your tagline, branding statement or pitch. As you write your intro section, consider adding keywords or terms relevant to the role you are interested in.
The about section is where you can add or edit information about work, education, places you’ve lived, contact information, details about you and more. These are sections you should pay attention to.
You can select up to five featured photos that will appear to the left of your timeline. These photos offer you one more opportunity to call attention to the activities and accomplishments you want highlighted.
If you have personal connections you want to keep private, you may want to change the privacy settings for your friends list so that only you can see them. However, Facebook will still allow mutual friends to be visible, despite your settings.
Now that your profile is in good shape, you are ready to accept followers. You may not want to be friends with co-workers or people you don’t know. Followers will only be able to see your public posts in their news feed. To set up your profile to allow followers, go to your profile settings. Then on the left look for “Public Posts” and select public next to “Who Can Follow Me.”
Your Facebook profile can serve as a tool to emphasize your personal AND professional values and goals. You can leverage Facebook for your job search by understanding privacy settings and maximizing the information you choose to share on Facebook.
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.