Facebook is the most widely used social networking platform with 1.49 billion users as of July 28, 2015. Whether you are a professional or aspiring to become one, maintaining a “clean” Facebook presence is important. According to an article by Jacob Davidson in TIME Magazine it is more important than users realize.
“… 93% of hiring managers will review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision.” – Jacob Davidson via Jobvite.
With the vast majority of hiring managers taking social profiles into consideration before hiring it is important to maintain the level of professionalism that one would have at their job. Social media has become an extension of one’s reputation and through poor practice it can quickly become tarnished. Here are a few things that should be avoided when striving for a clean Facebook profile:
Too many posts
Your Facebook profile is not a personal diary, stop oversharing. Posting a continuous stream of statuses annotating everything throughout your day is unnecessary. Managers also note the timestamp on the posts, this can result in problems if you are spending a large amount of time posting on Facebook during regular work hours.
Posting vulgar statuses and images create negative impact. Posts referencing drugs, alcohol, or sexual references leaves the majority of job recruiters with a negative interpretation of the individuals character. That selfie of you with a beer pong is not a great idea if you are a business professional who works with the public.
Poor grammar and spelling
Even if you maintain a “clean” Facebook by not posting anything vulgar, studies have found spelling and grammar also play a major role. Spelling and grammar mistakes will quickly put credibility into question. TIME magazine article titled The 7 Social Media Mistakes Most Likely to Cost You a Job by Jacob Davidson states; “66% of hiring managers said they would hold poor spelling and grammar against candidates”.
Not reviewing photos before posting
Check to make sure posts are appropriate for all viewers. Having inebriated photos from a weekend escapade plaguing your social media presence is a quick way to tarnish your social media presence. A great way to contain the possibility of someone else posting images of you check tagged photos before they are automatically added to your wall. Use the activity log to screen photo tags at all times.
Having a profile without privacy settings
Be proactive and have strict privacy settings on Facebook. It is easier to protect your image when only friends can see your entire profile. For extra coverage there is also a setting to have images friends tag you in request your permission before being added to your wall. Remember any one of your “friends” can take a screenshot and repost any status or image easily. Once its online you no longer “own it”. Think of it as trying to put tooth paste back into the tube. Damage control is not an easy task.
Sending game requests
Few people appreciate the Facebook game requests. Sending out game requests during the work day might make people question your work ethic. Especially when people receiving the requests are potential clients or fellow co-workers. If you are playing games instead of working, facebook will broadcast that to your network.
Using the poke feature on Facebook is similar to the game requests, they are a nuisance and should be avoided especially during work hours. Poking people you do not know well can appear creepy.
Only add people as Facebook friends that you actually know. This should also be the rule for accepting friend requests. Use caution when accepting requests from co-workers or competitors. Keeping your network minimized also can help make sure that your location and property are not public information. This is more from a safety standpoint rather than a professional one.
The reality is that more Human Resource departments are going to be tasked with digging deeper into how employees connect with others online. It is the equivalent to reading several reviews on an item before deciding to make a final purchase. Take a moment to reflect about how social media profiles can affect how potential employers and customers may view you. It could mean the difference between getting a second interview or the final job.