"Take down your pictures." "Delete offensive friends." "Censor your comments." Do this, do that, but whatever you do, make sure your profile is 110% employer-friendly.
I've preached all of this before, but thanks to a recent story on CNN.com, I've taken a firm stand with all you job seekers out there who want the profiling to stop!
When did employers gain so much control over the social networking sphere? Facebook was just taking off when I was in college. Before that, everyone used MySpace. And these sites were nothing but pure fun and games; another way to keep in touch with friends and reconnect with old high school buddies.
Where did it all go wrong?
For one thing, Facebook started as a college student network, which is what made it so popular. It was a place to share photos and publicly communicate with friends in a clean, user-friendly space (unlike MySpace which is cluttered with ads and info hackers). Then, it branched out to high schoolers. After that, employees of certain companies like Apple and Microsoft were allowed to register. And finally, anyone 13 or older could sign up with a valid email address. This, my friends, is where it all started going downhill for job seekers.
Unless you make your profile viewable by friends only, your info is fair game for any employer out there who's looking to dig up a little dirt on you. Not looking for a job now? You still have reason to be concerned, since employees have been fired over incriminating details found on their Facebook and MySpace profiles.
So if you want to hold onto the fun and games the old students-only membership offered, you absolutely have to make your profile private, and don't friend anyone who could negatively impact your career. We shouldn't have to worry so much about how we're portraying ourselves to our friends, but unfortunately, there is no alternative.
Today's technology is fantastic, but it's a shame to see such an entertaining, personal site make such a potentially negative impact on our careers.
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