Getting Your Social Media Ready for Graduation: Facebook

Spring is a season of renewal, cleaning and preparation for a new crop of graduates ready to enter the so-called “real world”. For those trading in their cap and gown for a suit, tie, and office, sprucing up a social media presence can go a long way in being more presentable to employers, hiring managers, and even co-workers. This series will look at just how new graduates can increase their chances and stand out. Today we’ll look at how new graduates can fix up their own personal profiles on Facebook for a better hiring experience.

getting social media ready for graduation
photo credit: ralph and jenny via photopin cc

Facebook is now a hub for just about everything. From cat photos to last night, to our new job and relationship status everything that happens in our lives seems to make its way there. For your friends this is the ultimate scrapbook, but for a hiring manager, this could be the ultimate nightmare.

While it’s illegal in a few states now (check your local laws) for hiring managers to directly ask you for the credentials to your Facebook account, there is absolutely nothing stopping them from taking a look at who you are. You may look qualified on LinkedIn, but those party photos may ultimately cost you that final email. Here are a few tips to consider while you are on the hunt for that job:

1. Analyze how you might show up on Facebook’s new social graph search

Facebook recently rolled out the social graph search feature. The social graph feature changes the way that users can search on Facebook, allowing for queries that range from hobbies to location to education obtained. If you have content listed under those areas in your profile, anyone can search for them. If you feel like this is too obtrusive, you can always opt out or if you still want to be searched, make sure that terms that may represent you as immature are expunged altogether. You can never be too safe with your name showing up next to the search query of liking to “get drunk on a Friday night”.

2. Make sure your privacy controls are the way you want them

Facebook has received a lot of criticism for its handling of its privacy policy and controls. Be sure you know who you are showing your content to and if you are posting for the entire world to see (public) or just to friends. If you choose public for your content, then anyone will be able to search for them. Make sure that you also configure whether someone can look you up by your email or find you through search engines by going to the “Privacy Settings and Tools” page.

3. Clean up your content

So you partied just a little bit in college! We’re all guilty of looking obnoxious on social media and for the average collegian this is no different. If you have been tagged in photos that you think a recruiter or hiring manager might find questionable un-tagging that content may be the best way to go.

4. Better yet – control your content

If you still want to remain tagged on some of the content mentioned above, but want to control what gets seen you can do this as well. When you are on your privacy page under Facebook settings, click on “Timeline and Tagging” and turn on the feature that lets you review content before it goes to your wall. This way you can still be tagged in less than satisfactory content, but it just won’t show up immediately.

These are some of the tips I suggest for getting ready for a post-graduation social media account. You can still have fun, and still be social and personal. Just remember that when you do, to share your content with the right audience and you’ll be fine.

Good luck as you steam towards your big day!

Albert Qian
Albert Qian is a social media professional working, living and playing in Silicon Valley. He got his start in social media by working for Santa Clara University and jumping into Facebook pages in May 2009. Ever since, he has been engrossed in social media, marketing, program management and consulting for small businesses, Fortune 500 companies and individuals looking to learn more social media. On his free time, he enjoys hiking, bowling, eating out at new places and traveling. You can learn more about him on his blog.
Albert Qian

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