Okay, we get it: those embarrassing pics from that party during Freshman year aren’t going to go away (“I’m a hot mess – but I still look hot!”).
Your contact info is on lockdown ever since that friend-of-a-friend started spamming you during your last days of AIM use in 2009.
And you’ve gone completely off-the-radar, full-bore-unsearchable ever since you added your diploma to the mantle and posted your first resume for an online job application.
Like I said: we get it. But what if your lack of Facebook profile is actually hindering your job search? (Insert sounds of a record screeching to a stop here).
Are you Google-able?
Believe it or not, who you are online is a lot more important than who you aren’t. Employers and recruiters aren’t looking for staid, enigmatic social abstainers – they’re looking for real, Google-able people with real Google-able lives, who aren’t afraid to share at least the salient information with their network.
See that, my friends, is the point of networking–revealing the right information to the right people, in order to form a relationship that has the potential to be mutually beneficial.
And Facebook is the prime platform for reaping some of that potential benefit – if you leverage it properly that is!
That proper leverage means updating the public parts of your profile to reveal the most relevant and timely information–at the very least where you’re living, what you do for a living, and where you studied in order to learn how to do what you do. If you want to be really ambitious, you can add contact information or links to other public profiles (tweet much, anyone?), portfolios, or even personal or professional blogs.
It’s not about friending recruiters on Facebook
Before you object, understand this: recruiters–good recruiters–aren’t interested in becoming your friend. They don’t need to know your relationship status. They’re probably not even particularly interested in seeing that embarrassing Freshman year photo. They’re on Facebook because they’re looking to expand their own network of qualified job candidates–namely, you!
And the fact of the matter is, companies and recruiters are using Facebook to find their next candidates. There are over 15 million companies on the network, and a huge number of them are actively looking for you. (We can attest to that fact, since thousands of companies have already posted over 6 million jobs through Work4 to their Facebook Career Sites!)
They’re going to be using tools like Graph Search and Facebook hashtags to search their networks for the very best people–people whose profiles match their search terms.
But if you’re hiding the fact that you can speak fluent Portuguese or that you currently work as a technical writer (for example), how can a recruiter in your network reach out to a contact for an introduction when they have the perfect opportunity for a bilingual technical writer sitting in their laps?
No need to share all
So here’s my two cents: no, you don’t have to share everything. No, you don’t have to scrub your Facebook of every college exploit, accidentally posted grammatical error or curse word (because those were total accidents, right?), or iota of personality just because you want to project a more professional presence.
Just clean up the areas that you are planning to share publicly, and then share! You’re not putting anything out there that may not already be found on your about.me profile, so you might as well make it easy to use this incredibly large part of your internet life to your–and your potential employer’s–advantage.
With tools like Graph Search, it’s going to be much easier for you to make the right connections, but only if you let the most complete version of you be found.
So what are you waiting for? Stop reading this article and go update that Facebook profile! (And when you’re done, come back and let us know how your job search is going, or hit us up @work4labs on Twitter!)
Author: Kirsten Smith is Vice President of Marketing at Work4. With more than 15 years of software and social marketing experience, which includes work in the talent management and human resources industry, Kirsten has a track record of successful growth and is highly experienced in all areas of marketing.