Everyone probably has an embarrassing picture that they do not want to share with their family, let alone the rest of the world. Why, then, you may ask, did your friend decide to put that up on Facebook? Your privacy settings may help protect you from your mom finding those embarrassing and possibly illegal photos, but they may not protect you from a stealthy recruiter or potential employer.
As we all know, the job market is extremely competitive right now and any misstep could cost you an interview and maybe even a job! It is great to be a social person but being social does not translate into underage drinking and posting pictures of it on Facebook. Yes, employers want intelligent, charismatic and fun-loving employees, but if a potential employer sees that your social life may get in the way of your professional life, there can be serious consequences.
Let’s take, for example, my first day of college. The deans and the IT service center had a meeting with all 400 new freshmen. They presented about how to clean up your online social identity. To prove their point, they did a bit of research to find inappropriate pictures of our classmates doing inappropriate things such as keg stands. That probably isn’t what you want your first impression to be on your new deans of a college or recruiters. A more professional image would likely suit your purposes better.
Now, I am not saying that you should completely change your life habits, even if it may benefit your health. It is just important to remember that Facebook is open and it may not always be possible to stop recruiters or employers from seeing your deepest, darkest secrets if they are out there on the internet. If this blog has encouraged you to re-examine your online identity, please see below for instructions and suggestions for your Facebook privacy setting.
Bottom line: If you don’t want a recruiter or employer to see a picture on the internet, don’t put it up there in the first place!
Instructions for increasing your privacy settings:
- Log into your Facebook account
- Click on Account and you will get a drop down menu. Then, click on Privacy Settings. You will see a chart that explains who can see what on your Facebook.
- You will see different options on the left-hand sidebar. Choose the “Friends Only” bar and then click on “Apply These Settings” in the bottom blue box.
- Now, you have updated your profile so that only your friends can see your information.
Important: Do not forget that every time that you make a photo album on Facebook, you have to choose who can view the album. Choose “Friends Only” next to the “Privacy” option. Otherwise, anyone will be able to see your posted photos.
P.S. A TIME Magazine writer seems to find certain, unnecessary postings on Facebook entertaining. Click here to read the article.