Don’t Stand So Close to Me–Or My Career

Facebook suggested I add someone whose info tab starts out with:


Anyone who has to say they’re complicated pretty much isn’t. I won’t even mention the grammar because it didn’t end there. It’s enough that my immediate reaction is to stay away without needing to be pushed.

Snark aside, just how far is it from my reaction to that of a recruiter’s, or a new boss?

Or your just-decided-to-find-you-on-Facebook boss you’ve had for a couple years?

Note: If you don’t care what your Facebook looks like to employers, this post is not for you. Everyone else, come with me.

Recruiters and employers are openly using not just Google searches but social media platforms to explore both potential candidates and current employees. This is no secret.

It should also be no secret that if you have anything set to “Friends of Friends” on Facebook (which still exists despite recent changes), you might as well just make it “Public.”

You don’t know everyone your friends know or who they’re sharing your stuff with, and if their settings are “Friends of Friends,” then countless strangers can see your stuff too.

And remember, a post isn’t locked when it’s left up on a computer.

There’s always another side. I hear a lot about not being afraid to show the world exactly what makes you tick. Why work for an employer who cares about your grammar or your sloshy, drunken pictures? You’re you, right? You’re being real. You’re wonderful and talented, and ready to rock in your job. You’re not the sum of your pictures and certainly not the sum of your Info tab.

I just want to suggest a little caution. We operate off of first impressions; the above message is no exception. The person writing it assumes you’re going to get too close, so is warning you off before you can. Their first impression of you is already locked in.

Likewise, just as you wouldn’t want to be rejected based on your resume or cover letter before you even get to a phone call or face-to-face interview, Facebook can decoy people into thinking you’re not the rock star you are.

A busy recruiter is all too happy to bypass what they consider to be a dead loss in their hunt for the perfect candidate. A boss downsizing his department will look for any reason to make it easier to start chopping heads.

What this means is it comes down to perception–that bugbear of personal branding–which comes from everyone looking at you from the outside, not the wonderful you on the inside.

And that first statement is doing all the pushing away the person could hope for.

What’s your take on first impressions through social media–any social media?

More info on Facebook and employers: New Facebook Search Engine Lets Employers Find You

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