Monday, March 7, 2011

part two: spring cleaning your facebook profile

When selecting a tool to help you clean  up your Facebook profile, it might help to know what prospective employers are looking for and how the tool can help with that. As I described in part one, the socioclean tool scanned text for words it deems inappropriate such as references to sex, alcohol/drugs, aggression, and profanity.

The survey listed the following as reasons that the 18% of employers who hired someone based on their profile used:
  • Profile provided a good feel for the candidate's personality and fit within the organization
  • Profile supported candidate's professional qualifications
  • Candidate was creative
  • Candidate showed solid communication skills
  • Candidate was well-rounded
  • Other people posted good references about the candidate
  • Candidate received awards and accolades
They also listed the following as reasons that the 35% of employers who said the candidate's profile caused them not to hire him/her used:
  • Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information
  • Candidate posted content about them drinking or using drugs
  • Candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients
  • Candidate showed poor communication skills
  • Candidate made discriminatory comments
  • Candidate lied about qualifications
  • Candidate shared confidential information from previous employer
Of the negative criteria listed, the socioclean tool definitely targets drinking and drugs, can find discriminatory references if you use racial epithets, and might be able to find bad-mouthing of previous employers if you used profanity or aggressive words. You'll have to police your photographs, your communication skills, and your violations of confidentiality/non-compete agreements yourself.

The positive criteria are more abstract. A tool can't scan for how well your profile presents your personality, your communication skills, or well-roundedness.

The main thing I gleaned from the list of positives, was that employers are looking on Facebook for things that are usually posted on LinkedIn. The action I took on this point was simple, and not aided by a tool (although maybe I should develop one for this). I added my employment history to my Facebook profile and made sure it matched my LinkedIn profile. My LinkedIn profile supports the professional qualifications I list on my resume. The Facebook profile doesn't really have a section for recommendations and references or for awards and accolades. I'm not sure where the employers found that information, unless those were the minority who looked on LinkedIn.

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