From fun to jobs

Is it possible to use Facebook for fun and for finding a job? That's a question that burdens young users of the social networking website, many of whom have started transforming their personal profiles into online resumes. There's a reason for caution. Some 70 percent of hiring managers have rejected candidates based on what they found online about that person, according to a report from Microsoft in 2009.

However, ruling out the use of social media for finding a job narrows the search to a candidate's disadvantage. According to a report by the Society of Human Resource Management, more than half of employers now use Facebook to find employees. Some 95 percent use LinkedIn and 42 percent use Twitter.

Here are some things to keep in mind when developing an online profile for job-seeking purposes.

Check your online persona. What picture will a prospective employer get of you online? Google your name using quotation marks to make sure there isn't content lurking in cyberspace that could tarnish your professional reputation.

If there are links to questionable material you can control (like old blog posts or inappropriate social media profiles), go back and delete them.

Think of social networking sites you frequent as brand-builders. If you use them for fun and for job-hunting, it's important to maintain an air of professionalism no matter what online activities you participate in.

When building online contacts, Kristen Jacoway, author of "I'm in a Job Search - Now What?" (Happy About, 2010) says it's also important to only friend or connect with people you know and trust.

Since a Facebook listing is a public profile anyone can view, "make sure these connections are people who would not turn off a potential recruiter or employer," she says.

Be private - but not too private. It can be disconcerting to have old friends you'd rather ignore look at your profile, but if you're using Facebook for employment opportunities, it's important to remain relatively open.

"You'll want to have privacy controls set low to enable recruiters and employers to find you," says Jacoway.

She suggests thinking in terms of keywords. Since employers use geographical search terms, she says it's important to list the state where you currently live.

Facebook job hunting is really networking. Don't think of it as something that new. The platform has changed, but the idea remains the same: finding jobs with the help of friends.


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