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Could Social Media Cost You Your Job?

Privacy is an issue on Facebook, in general, but it's even more of an issue when you're job searching. If you're not careful, everything you post on Facebook can be seen by your current employer or a prospective employer. How would you feel if your current/prospective employer came across these types of posts: A 16 year old employee was fired after three weeks as an admin assistant for writing on Facebook about how bored she was with her job. Her status updates included: 'first day at work. Omg!! So dull!!' A high school teacher was forced to resign after posting pictures of herself drinking on the social networking site. The 24-year-old was told her page 'promoted alcohol use' and 'contained profanity'

What Employers Shouldn't See on Facebook:

  • Don't post anything you wouldn't want your current employer or a prospective employer to see.
  • Avoid any comments that could be interpreted as racist, sexist or discriminatory in any way.
  • Remove or untag photos of you that show you in an unfavourable light. If you prefer not to, then be sure to carefully manage your album privacy settings. These control which people can see which of your albums.
  • Look at your wall. Remove comments from your friends that seem distasteful.
  • Look at the apps on your profile. Does their purpose portray you well? There are more than a few apps that may not be the best ones to have on your page when you're looking to get a job.
  • What groups are you a member of? If you belong to "its 5 am, I'm drunk, and on Facebook" or any similar groups, you probably want to leave them.

10 Ways to Manage Your Social Media Footprint:

  1. Check your digital trail and keep it clean. Search yourself on Google, Yahoo and other search engines, and clean up anything that doesn't put you in a positive light.

  2. Limit your profile search ability. Facebook's default settings allow anyone to find your profile online. You can disable this so that search engines won't link to your profile. Go to Account - Privacy Settings - Apps and Websites - Public Search (Edit Settings) and uncheck "Enable Public Search". Or, if you just want to limit parts of your profile, go to Edit Profile and select the privacy level (Public, Friends, Only Me, Custom) for each profile data point using the drop down boxes to the right.

  3. Keep your profile photo appropriate. Be aware that even if you set your privacy settings so you're searchable but only friends can see your posts and pictures, your name and profile photo are still visible. If so, make sure your photo is what you want to present if someone pulls up your profile.

  4. Control who can contact you on Facebook. By default, anyone on Facebook can send you a message. You can change this setting to "friends of friends," so only people who have a mutual friend can contact you. Click Account - Privacy Settings - How You Connect. For greater control, the "friends only" setting will allow only people in your network to contact you.

  5. Remove your past posts from public view. A recently added privacy setting, "Limit the Audience for Past Posts" will change content that may previously have been publicly posted to be only view-able by Friends in your network.

  6. Take control of tagging on your profile. Facebook's default settings allow friends to tag you in their photos, profile posts, and even check you into places – which can be public without your knowledge. Change these settings so only friends can see these posts. Go to "How Tags Work" under Privacy settings and opt out. You can also choose to review all tags before they are linked to your profile so that your friends don't have the chance to link embarrassing party photos without your permission.

  7. Filter your Friends network. Unless you trust every single one of your Facebook friends 100%, set up different lists with different privacy settings. Click on "Lists" - "Create a List" and select which friends go into which list.

  8. Make your Twitter account permission-only. If you have a Twitter account, by default, anybody can view your tweets and follow you. To protect your privacy and tweets, go to Settings - Accounts – and then check "Protect my tweets." That way people can only follow you and see your tweets if you've given them permission to do so.

  9. Or, change your Twitter name. If you want to make your Twitter account public but not associated with your name, change your display name by clicking on "Settings" on the drop down menu at the top right corner of your profile page. Go to the "Accounts" tab and the first listing is "Name". You can create a different name for yourself.

  10. Be smart and think about everything you post online before you do it. The Internet has a LONG memory. After all your hard work, the last thing you want to keep you out of your top school or program choices is an inappropriate Facebook photo or offensive tweet. Posting that a university is your "insurance" option or second choice can come back to bite you.
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