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Posted by Eric Murphy, Senior Recruiter, Professional Search Division

What is up with that Facebook page? I am hearing it occasionally from companies and hiring managers out there; it is a sign of the times. My tip of the day is: If you DON’T think employers look for and browse your Facebook page before making a hiring decision; you are kidding yourself!

These days it is getting easier and easier to find information about people on the Internet; and Facebook is definitely a popular source for information. Human Resource Directors and Managers will commonly browse Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to see what they can learn about prospective hires; their habits, likes, dislikes, interests, etc…

I recommend reviewing all your pages carefully and guard your Cyber-Identity with diligence and care. If you are in the middle of or considering starting a job search, review your Facebook presence:

1. Photos – Posted photos of your family and friends are fine. Consider removing photos that reveal alcoholic consumption, too much flesh or anything that may be perceived as offensive to someone more conservative.

2. Status Updates – Although intended for friends and family, depending on your settings in Facebook, it is possible others can see your status and information. As part of a “Network” [usually divided by city, such as a Charlotte]; other individuals in that Network may be able to see your information. Consider the following:

Don’t talk poorly of your employers or past-employers
Removing your age/birthday
Removing political statements/affiliations
Posting a professional photo as your Default photo
Removing curse words or nasty language

3. Check Your Settings – Under Settings, Privacy Settings; check out yours. There are generally 4 options.

Public [anybody sees everything]
Network and Friends [anybody in your Network, for example Charlotte, and your friends can see everything]
Friends of Friends [anybody connected to your friends, even if you don’t know them]
Only Friends [Only those people you choose to accept as friends]

In order to keep the most control over who sees your information and photos, choose “Only Friends” for all categories; but anybody can still see the Default photo. Facebook defaults to Network or Friends of Friends – the bad news here is that you have no control over who sees your photos and information.

Most people leave settings on “Network and Friends“; allowing everybody in the city to see their information, and most have no idea.

Run through your LinkedIn profile, Tweets, etc., to ensure everything looks professional and respectable. Look at your profiles like an outsider and consider things that may be viewed as inappropriate. Don’t become a Facebook casualty. You’re probably already addicted to it, don’t let it cost you a job, as well.

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