Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Making Your MySpace/Facebook Profile Job Friendly

Facebook and MySpace have become fixtures in the lives of millions of people, most of whom are under the age of 30. But as many people are aware, Facebook recently made the controversial move to open the site up to the general public, where it had previously only allowed people associated with specific high schools, universities and companies. What does this mean for the average college kid? It means that your mom, your boss and a company recruiter can all "friend" you and see your profile. And you thought pedophiles were an issue...

Many recruiters were already using MySpace and Facebook as part of a background check on applicants, as discussed in this New York Times article. Facebook's strict profile viewing rules (you could only view someone's profile if they were in your network) allowed students to think of the site as a safe space, where they could post any information about themselves that was, shall we say, not "mom approved". This includes pictures of people engaging in illegal activities and groups that promote these same activities ("I drink on days that end in Y").

If you have a Facebook or MySpace profile, now is the time to clean it up. You don't want to be denied the job of your dreams on the basis of a drug reference or a few scandalous pictures. I'm not advocating that people strip their profiles of all individuality and humor, just that they take away anything obviously damning.

Here are a few tips for making your Facebook or MySpace profile "recruiter/boss friendly":

-First, you can always set your privacy settings so that people outside of one network (your college, for example) or all friends cannot view your profile. If you absolutely insist on keeping "the man" out of your profile, consider this option.

If you don't want to make your profile competely private, here are some ways you can clean it up:

-Remove any pictures where you are obviously drunk and/or high. If a beer funnel or bong is in your hand, it has to go.

-Remove any pictures where you are naked, almost naked, or are around lots of people with little to no clothes on.

-Leave any groups that promote illegal activities, seriously politically incorrect political viewpoints or fall under the category of "WAY too much information". Even if it's semi-ironic, like "People who choke bitches and slap hos", it still looks bad.

-Get rid of any of the previously mentioned activities from your interests and quotes.

-Don't write any notes or blog entries about the previously mentioned activities.

For everything else, just use common sense. Keep in mind that most companies are super sensitive to any politically incorrect or potentially offensive viewpoints and actions. If they think you might say or do something that would get you fired, they definitely won't hire you in the first place.


Neil said...

Here's another suggestion: use Facebook's privacy settings to prevent people outside your network, or even people who aren't your friends, from seeing any details of your profile. As it stands with my own Facebook, only people on my college network can see me, and I'm considering restricting it to friends only.

Neil said...

Here's a direct link to the Facebook page describing their privacy features.

Tinny said...

The way I solved it might not work for some but it did for me... I have my mom as a friend in myspace. I'm 24 so there's no way she can scold me or do anything embarrassing, but if it's not fitting for motherly consumption it also isn't for my thesis advisor or some gossipy department secretary (aka the rulers of my world)

Meg said...

Tinny, that's actually a great idea. My parents are too computer-illiterate to have myspace/facebook profiles (and this may be a good thing too) but it's smart of you to run your profile by her before someone gossipy finds it!


ambika said...

Yeah, my Myspace is set to private. Just because I don't want to censor my friend's comments.