11 Jun How To Seem Responsible on Facebook
It’s my favorite time of year again… Summer intern time. While I’ve handed off my intern program management duties, I still look forward to having a helper in the office who is eager to learn (and make spreadsheets).
I also look forward to intern time because it’s someone new in the office. We don’t have a lot of employee turnover here so it’s nice to see a new face everyday for a summer. And new faces mean, new snooping.
I think everyone knows this by now. When you apply for a job the potential employer looks you up. They Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter stalk potential hires to see if there are any red flags.
So, we decided to play a little joke on our new intern. We thought it would be funny to upload a bunch of embarrassing pictures from his open Facebook page to a digital picture frame and have it going on his desk on his first day. Seemed funny enough to us.
Well, I sat down and went through his page and the joke was on me. BORING. Okay, not actually boring. He looks like he’s had a lot of fun in college and I think I got a good sense of what he does for fun but, there was nothing worthy of being passed around the office.
No drunken party pictures, no cleavage shots, no inappropriate couple shots, and no damning Halloween pics like past interns we’ve had.
I don’t think he set up his page that way on purpose just for this intern interview process, but he seemed to be thinking ahead and doing things right. He comes off as professional but fun. He took college seriously but also had a great time while he was there. He is doing it right and using Facebook to his advantage in his job hunt.
Here’s the thing with me and Facebook and I think a lot of my colleagues would agree: Either make your page private and don’t friend coworkers until/unless you are actually friends or keep it tame. It’s an edited version of reality and that is what employers want to see.
Here are my five helpful hints for creating a Facebook persona that lets potential employers know a bit about you but not too much:
1. There are privacy settings for a reason. Use them. You may want to keep some of your profile open for interested companies looking you up or you may want to lock the whole thing down. Either way, make sure prospective employers can only see what you want them to. (If you do this step correctly, you don’t have to worry about the other four.)
2. Edit your pictures. If you leave them open, people will look at them. Untagging yourself from embarrassing photos is not rude, nor is making certain pictures private. As much as I like to snoop, there are things I’d rather not see about someone I manage.
3. Don’t complain about work. Seriously, I can’t believe I have to say this, and it goes for current and past interns. You don’t even have to be complaining about working here – it can be ANY job. It just looks bad and it doesn’t make me want to recommend you to be employed anywhere.
4. Limit the swearing. I get it, adults swear sometimes. But, if you’re constantly dropping F-bombs to the world what makes me think you won’t do it in front of someone important to our business. I know you have a big vocabulary, try using some more descriptive adjectives.
5. Show that you know how to use the platform. Engage. Post articles, respond to comments, etc. A lot of companies, especially in PR and marketing, are looking to college-aged people to manage social media for them. It only makes sense since they have grown up with it. Demonstrate that you know how to use it for more than just keeping people posted on your current relationship status.