Social Media 101: Facebook and Job Hunting

Social media is all around us. Many of us keep up with our closest friends online, as well as “friends” who we may not know very well. We can keep up with people using applications on our iPhones, iPads, Kindles and even our NOOKs. We keep up with events, follow daily status updates and even see the latest photos of our friends via social media web sites. But, can social media assist you in getting a job? It can … if you know how to use it the right way.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll discuss how you can use social media to your advantage in finding a job. We’ll also talk about how social media can get you into trouble. Today, let’s start with Facebook.

Facebook – a window into your world

Let’s face it, almost everyone is on Facebook. Those that use it, use it for many different reasons.  Some share photos and updates with friends and family; others are looking for the Starbucks or Southwest Airlines page to find a free coupon or the next great deal. And still, others serve as the leader of their group of friends and post all of the crazy photos from last Friday’s party …YES! Uh-oh. But, you see, that is where we can begin to run into trouble.

If you’re job hunting, you need to remember a few things about your Facebook profile. First, Facebook is a public place where, if you allow, people can enter into your world and see all of the information that you post. Unless you take time to personalize your privacy settings, everyone has free access to your information, posts and photos.

Think about what’s on your Facebook profile. Would you want some of that information splashed on the front page of the newspaper? Do you really want your Mom to see everything on that page? What about future employers? What will they think? While you have the right to post most anything on your page, you also need to consider making some things private.

Facebook is for fun, why do employers care?

Most employers want to get the best people to work for their company. What does your Facebook page tell about you? Does it say that you are responsible or not so responsible? What kind of conversations are you having in public? When you are job searching, it is important that you cover all bases to ensure that you are presenting yourself in the most positive light.

Privacy issues and not-so-private implications!

Presenting yourself as a professional requires you to consider how you use your Facebook page. The most important thing to consider is your Privacy settings. By default, much of your information is set to “Everyone.” This means everyone can see everything.

But, you can also customize these settings. For example, you can make your status updates viewable only by certain people or certain groups you create within your Friends list. You can also set your photo albums and the Places where you check in to be viewable only by specific groups of people. This way, employers cannot see any unflattering comments you may post or be bombarded with photos from Spring Break.

Many professionals will set their privacy settings so that some information can only be seen by employers and colleagues, and then other information is viewable by friends and family members. You must learn to manage your Facebook account and not allow your Facebook account to manage you.

Optimizing your profile for Recruiters

When you are searching for a position, use your profile to tell a story about you. Join groups on Facebook that will allow you to really network and get people to come to your page.

At Sodexo, we have a Sodexo Careers – Past, Present & Future page that we encourage candidates “Like” so that they can interact with our recruiters. Many students have connected with us and are able to gain valuable information from our recruiters who have helped them join our award winning team.

One thing that you don’t want to do is to join a company’s career page and then bad mouth that company. While you may apply for one position and not be successful, other opportunities could become available.

Here are a few things to consider about your Facebook profile:

•    Start with a professional photo. This site is about you. Do not use photos of you and your boyfriend, photos of your children, of you and you BFF, or of your dog. Use a professional looking photo of you.
•    Fill in your Bio and Work information using keywords. This will get the attention of recruiters who may look at your page.
•    Publish status updates for your professional network. This is not the time to post what you had for dinner or your comments about the Super Bowl. This is the time to post a great article related to your field. You may even want to consider sharing your updates as a means to let your network know that you are in search of a job. By its very nature, Facebook is a well-connected network. You never know who might know a contact or have the ability to refer you to someone who can help.

Facebook is fun. Don’t be afraid to use it when you’re looking for a job. Just remember to adjust your privacy settings, add some professional touches to your profile and be sure that your Facebook account is speaking for you any time a recruiter stops by to take a peak. Good luck!


Derren is the Manager, Diversity Recruiting for Sodexo which is a leader in integrated food service and facilities management. He is responsible for managing the Sodexo Future Leaders Internship Program as well as executing diversity sourcing initiatives for both campus and targeted experienced hires. With over 14+ years of experience with Sodexo, Derren has had great success as a General Manager in the company’s Health Care Services division as well as in several positions within their Talent Acquisition Group. He’s an active corporate partner with the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH). Derren is an AIRS Certified Diversity Recruiter (CDR) and Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR).

Related posts:

  1. Leveraging Social Media in Your Job Search
  2. Social Media 101: Are you LinkedIn?
  3. Social Media 101: Networking with Twitter

2 Responses to “Social Media 101: Facebook and Job Hunting”

  1. avatar Lew Sauder says:

    I tend to use LinkedIn and Twitter for my professional connections and posts, and Facebook for friends and fun posts. My Facebook privacy settings are set to private, but I still stay somewhat in character. I have fun and post comments about social activities, but I watch my language and steer clear of bad mouthing anyone or anything in case a potential employer can see. Employers don’t care if I’m posting what I had for dinner or if I’m rooting for the Chicago Bulls. They might have second thoughts if I post drunken pictures from a wild party.
    Lew Sauder, Author, Consulting 101: 101 Tips For Success in Consulting

  2. I totally agree with Lew. We need to remember the spirit in which Facebook was originally created – and that was to share and make connections between friends and family – not employers. I agree that language and overall adult-like presence is necessary however it can not and should not become a straight laced, button down experience. I too use it to share my feelings about games, politics, current events with family and friends. My family and friends don’t care about my bio or work information (I reserve that for LinkedIn). Businesses need to stop hijacking some of the social sites for their own use. All that does is push the best and brightest away to go and build newer social sites away from them. There are already newer sites than Facebook (remember MySpace was the coolest thing before Facebook).

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