The Do’s and Don’ts of Your Job Search via Facebook

July 27, 2011

Facebook has become more than just a platform to connect with friends and family. Unemployment is high, and more and more job seekers are searching for work in rather unconventional places. Studies show that nearly 25% of job seekers around the world are now searching Facebook for new employment opportunities. With over 750 million users, Facebook provides a great opportunity to make personal and professional connections. However, before you start the job hunt on Facebook, there are a couple of rules that you should follow; otherwise your Facebook profile might actually hurt your chances to find a job. Here is a quick guide on the Do’s and Don’ts of job search via Facebook.

DO’S

Clean up and monitor your profile!

Using Facebook as a tool for your job search requires you to clean up your profile before you start networking with other professionals and companies. While it might be easy for you to control the content of your posts and pictures, you have less control over what your friends are posting on your Wall. By the time you notice inappropriate content on your profile, it might already be too late and a potential employer might see it first. Signing up for a reputation monitoring service like Reppler helps you to ensure that your online reputation stays intact.

Showcase yourself professionally!

Contrary to pure professional networks like LinkedIn, Facebook gives you an opportunity to showcase your professional AND personal interests. While your resume and cover letter only convey your professional skills, your Facebook profile will show off your personality, which for some companies is just as important. At the same time, don’t forget to fill out the Bio and the Work and Education section, as companies will likely look at those first.

Search for company profiles!

Facebook has thousands of company profiles, so make use of company pages that you are interested in by liking or joining their pages. That way, you will get more information about the company, and you might even find information about job openings. Don’t hesitate to participate in discussions to show your knowledge and expertise, but remember to maintain a professional attitude. If possible, engage in conversation with employees from that company.

Join groups/fields related to your industry!

By joining a group with people in the industry that you are interested in, you will get access to like-minded people that you can network with. It also gives you a chance to learn more about your field of interest. Don’t hesitate to share links to articles in your status updates; it shows that you do your research and have a genuine interest in the industry.

Make use of Facebook applications like BranchOut and BeKnown!

Facebook Apps like BranchOut and BeKnown can be used as part of your job search on Facebook. Once you sign up, you will find out who in your Facebook network is connected to the companies that you would like to work for. At the same time, companies and individuals can post job openings for free, which you can share among your friends.

DON’TS

Refrain from angry posts!

Employers look at your Facebook profile to find out more about your personality. Don’t vent online when someone or something upsets you. Potential employers might be hesitant to hire you if the tone of the language on your Wall is constantly negative. Also refrain from using derogatory language or any type of profanity.

Don’t badmouth your current or previous employer!

If you give employers the idea that you will tarnish their image once you part ways with the company, it is unlikely that they will hire you in the first place. Also, if you are currently employed, don’t forget any confidentiality and conduct agreements you’ve signed. If you violate your contract, you might end up jobless while you are hunting for a new position.

Don’t post controversial content or pictures!

Think twice before you post anything that reveals questionable behavior or habits. Avoid pictures that show too much skin (bikinis, underwear), excessive alcohol or reveal your party habits. Make sure that you un-tag yourself from images that others posts if the content is inappropriate.

Don’t be afraid to be creative!

Last but not least, have fun and express yourself responsibly. There are plenty of ways you can create a positive self-image, and if you follow some basic guidelines, Facebook can be a great tool to propel your job search.

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12% of Facebook Walls Have Derogatory Language That Could Prevent Employment

July 22, 2011

Today’s NY Times has an article about Social Intelligence, a year-old start-up that scrapes the Internet to provide employers with background checks on everything prospective employees may have said or done online in the past seven years.  We have written about Social Intelligence in the past but what is particularly noteworthy about today’s article is the list of “negative information” Social Intelligence collects that could prevent a job candidate from getting an offer:

  • Online evidence of racist remarks
  • References to drugs
  • Sexually explicit photos, text messages or videos
  • Flagrant displays of weapons or bombs
  • Clearly identifiable violent activity
After seeing this list, we analyzed the profiles of around 20,000 Facebook users to see how many of them have derogatory/racist language on their Wall.  Here is what we found:
  • 12% of users have derogatory language on their Wall.
  • The number rises to 17% for users under 35 years old.
  • The number falls to 5% for users over 35 years old.
  • Of those users who have derogatory language on their Wall, 38% have used such language themselves.
  • Of those users who have derogatory language on their Wall, 81% have such language posted by a friend.

So what does this all mean?  As we have said in the past, more and more employers are screening job candidates by checking out social networking sites.  A recent survey by Jobvite indicated that 45% of hiring managers always search for candidate profiles.  Some employers are doing the screening themselves and others are using services like Social Intelligence.  This trend places the burden on individuals to monitor their online presence more closely, as inappropriate content on social networking sites, like Facebook, could damage their reputation and limit their chances of getting a job.


Manage Your Professional Reputation – Online and Offline

July 20, 2011

With more than 14 million Americans out of work and unemployment rates still on the rise, the job market remains highly competitive, so your professional reputation is as important as ever. While Reppler focuses on protecting your online image on social networking sites like Facebook, there are other areas of your life that affect your professional reputation. This article will look at reputation on a macro level to explain what information affects your employment and what potential employers are looking for.

Financial History

Many people believe that their financial history has nothing to do with their job performance, but most employers disagree. A survey by the Society of Human Resource Management in 2010 revealed that 60% of employers run credit checks on all or some applicants. Despite protests from employees, employers argue that it is just another screening tool to evaluate an employee for a job and helps to determine whether a potential employee is responsible, honest and accountable. If an applicant has a stable financial history, it is more likely that the person will stay at the job. Employers also check for fraud and dishonest financial behavior. So what can you do? Be prepared and know your credit score! Check your credit report once a year, and if an employer asks for your permission to run a credit check, be prepared to discuss any issues up-front. If you know there are imperfections in your credit report, explain the situation and don’t wait for the employer to find out.

The following site provides a free annual credit report:  https://www.annualcreditreport.com/

Public Records

Another area of interest is your public record. It’s estimated that up to 40% of resumes can contain false or tweaked information, so employers might want to verify your information to insure that what they are getting is what they were promised. Information in public records has been filed or recorded by public agencies and can be either created by the federal and local government (vital records, real estate records, driving records) or by the individual (magazine subscription, voter registration etc.). Even though most essential public records are maintained by the government, they are accessible to the public either free-of-charge or for an administrative fee.

To find out what information is on public record under your name, visit your state’s website or use a nationwide directory of online and offline public record sources such as http://publicrecords.onlinesearches.com/

Criminal Records

Employers are facilitating background checks more diligently, as negligent hiring suits are picking up and can cost the company millions of dollars. Checking driving records and criminal records is becoming a standard procedure for many employers. They are looking for information in your background that indicates a predisposition to violence or illegal activity. If you are planning on entering the job market, do a pre-screening yourself to make sure that there are no unpleasant surprises waiting in your criminal record. Just like with your financial background, it might be better to proactively address any issues in your criminal history. Being honest about it and admitting past mistakes will always work in your favor.

To pre-screen your criminal records, check online to see if your state has a criminal database on the internet. If not, you can also go to the local courthouse in which you believe you have committed a crime and access those records.

Personal (Offline) Image

Besides checking the official references provided on your application, some companies also check your reputation in their own networks. Employers might call up personal contacts in companies that you have worked for to ask for informal references, so it is important to display a professional attitude at your current job at all times. Even if the contact doesn’t have specific information regarding your job performance, he or she might have some general information about job related issues like reliability, punctuality and the way you present yourself; are you polite and friendly, or often grouchy and moody. Be aware of your professional image, not just with regard to your immediate supervisor, but also your general presence in the company.

Online Presence

Part of your professional reputation is your online presence on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and search engines like Google and Yahoo. Search for your name in Google to check what others can find out about you, and if you discover public information that could damage your reputation and limit your chances of finding employment, contact the source and ask them to remove the information. Setting up Google Alerts for your name will help you to monitor search engine results.  In 2009, a CareerBuilder survey revealed that 45% of employers employers are using social media sites to screen job applicants, so monitoring your online reputation is crucial nowadays. Before you start searching for a new job, clean up your social networking sites and your Facebook profile in particular. Remove inappropriate content from your wall, delete indecent pictures and adjust your privacy settings so that only friends can access your profile. Monitoring services like Reppler will help you to keep your Facebook image clean and safe.


New Survey Reveals Increase in Job Recruiting Through Social Media

July 14, 2011

If you are currently looking for a new job, keep in mind that social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are some of the most important tools to attract potential employers. A new survey conducted by Jobvite, the leading recruiting platform of the social web, illustrates that more and more employers are using social networking sites to screen potential employees. While the survey focuses mainly on companies’ recruiting efforts, it nevertheless reflects how social networking sites have become an integral part of the hiring process.

Significant survey results:

  • 45% of the respondents always search for candidate profiles (compared to 35% in 2010)
  • 64% have successfully hired a candidate through the a social network
  • 89% will recruit in social networks this year
  • 78% expect increased competition for hires this year

A rise in social media recruiting also increases your responsibility to monitor your online presence more closely, as inappropriate content on social networking sites like Facebook can damage your reputation and limit your chances of being hired.  Clean up your social networking sites and use a monitoring service like Reppler to ensure that you project a professional and safe image at all times!