While LinkedIn is the daddy of social networking sites for business, its trendier cousin Facebook has been known to go business casual. But before you go crazy using Facebook for your business networking, be sure to read up on some do’s and don’ts to make sure your online activities don’t lose you a job.
Here are the top 10 Facebook mistakes during your job search, and some excellent resources to learn more:
- Posting furiously all day. Yes, your activity is time stamped. And if you’re spending more time on Facebook than preparing for interviews, you’re not sending the right message. Even when you’re not employed, if an employer sees you’re on Facebook all day recruiting for your zombie army, they’ll question your dedication to your career.
- Using alcohol, smoking, or any other “substance” in your profile picture. Not all employers will judge, but many will. Don’t take the risk. Keep your profile photo — and all of your photos — clean and professional.
- Not knowing how to keep your friends from seeing things you don’t want them to. There is a way to make sure that no matter what embarrassing pictures people post, your Facebook friends will never see them. Really. Learn about Facebook privacy settings to keep your Facebook presence under control.
- Not including information about your professional life. If you want to make professional connections through Facebook, then people need to know what you do professionally. Occasionally share links that relate to your industry, mention your job search, and reach out for help with your networking in a professional way. On the other hand, don’t be all business. Think about balance in your Facebook profile.
- Missing opportunities to connect with people elsewhere. The more places you connect with someone, the more likely you are to remain on their radar — you never know where people spend the most time, or the most attention. Linking your Facebook profile to your LinkedIn profile is one way to help move connections from one arena to another. Think about where you want to connect with people, and how to bridge the gaps.
- Saying anything negative about anyone you’ve ever worked with or for. It’s the rule in an interview, and therefore in any other forum where your interviewers might catch you. Your next employer wants to hire people who won’t trash their reputation. Don’t give them reason to question your professionalism.
- Talking about job prospects. What did you think of the interview you had today? Be very careful what you say. Anything other than “I’m excited about an opportunity!” might come back to bite you in the rear. Plus, if another potential employer catches up with you, do you want the fact that you’re interviewing elsewhere to be public knowledge? Control your job search activity.
- Selectively friending your colleagues. If you friend half the people in your office, but decline requests from others, consider the impact on your brand. Who might be offended? Feel left out? How does that affect your professional image? Decide on a personal policy when it comes to friending professional contacts, and make sure it considers more than who you like, or who you’d meet for a beer at happy hour.
- Using profanity. There’s nothing like a well-timed cuss word for conversational impact, but its impact on your reputation is a little different. Swearing used to connote a lack of intelligence — now the perception of swearing is different but still not what you want for your job search. Keep it PG.
- Divulging personal information, like medical conditions, your romantic relationships, or anything that you wouldn’t normally volunteer in a job interview. Some of this information your next employer just doesn’t want to know for legal reasons, and other information will seriously impede your ability to present yourself as a professional.
and a bonus mistake…
11. Assuming privacy. Even email or private messages aren’t truly private. Never say anything online that you wouldn’t want your grandmother or boss to read. If you play it that way, you never have to worry about what might turn up.
Want to use Facebook for your job search? Check out this great list of Facebook job search applications.
- Break out of LinkedIn: Using Facebook for Professional Networking
- Facebook Friends and Business Networking: Friend is a Dirty Word
- Facebook’s new privacy settings make managing your personal brand easier
- 5 reasons to friend your network on Facebook
- Avoid career myopia: Making the long-term play