Last Updated Mar 9, 2011 2:11 PM EST
We've recently discussed five ways that Facebook can get you fired. But Facebook and your career can be friends as well as foes.
"Opening up your profile and inviting recruiters, HR executives and interviewers to look at it is an opportunity for you answer the question, 'Who is this person, really?'" says Stephen Kennedy, account supervisor & Connecticut Internship Program coordinator at CJP Communications."That photo of you at the ball game may provide a point of commonality, and that European vacation you took could show that you enjoy travel (which may be a part of the position you're applying for)."
Of course, the ways to get fired we discussed earlier this week can also prevent you from getting hired, so you'll need to prep your page for professional viewing. But Kennedy says that doesn't mean it has to be completely buttoned up: "Quite frankly, that picture of you with a couple of friends at the local bar, beer in hand, may show us that you value a work-life balance." In addition to providing potential employers with an instant 3-D image of you, here are five other ways Facebook can get you hired.
1. Consider Facebook a Resume Extension
Your page can fit the overflow from your resume, helpful when you're trying to keep it to one page. "Use your Facebook site to show that your life outside of work is aligned with your career interests, through volunteer activities, membership and active involvement in industry organizations," says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide.
2. Make Your Profile Photo a Killer Head Shot
Even if you keep your page primarily private, allow strangers to see your profile photo -- and then make sure that's a great head shot. "It humanizes the interview before you even step in the room, " says Kenneth Sundheim, president and founder of KAS Placement.
3. Get an Inside Connection
If your dream job appears on an employment site, ask your friends if they know anyone at the company, suggests career strategist Kimberly Schneiderman, founder of City Career Services. "An example would be to [post your status as]: 'Just saw an ad for Marketing Assistant at Saks in the global promotions department. Do you know anyone at Saks I can reach out to directly? My experience is exactly what they need,'" says Schneiderman.
4. Let Employers Find You -- not Vice Versa
Even though potential employers may be browsing your page, friending them is a bad move, says Dan Schawbel, personal branding expert and founder of Millennial Branding, a full-service personal branding agency: "Never use Facebook as your first point of outreach to an employer because it's perceived as an invasion of privacy since Facebook is primarily used for friends and family connections." If you've truly scrubbed your page of professional red flags, you can loosen your security restrictions enough so that non-friends have plenty of access.
5. Bring Facebook Up In Your Interview
These days, employers usually like candidates to be social media savvy, even if it's not in the job description. Mentioning Facebook and/or Twitter during an interview may drive people to your site -- a good thing if it's worth showing off. But avoid bragging about how many followers you have and focus on the company. "Discuss how your experience with Facebook can help the company you're interviewing with. You may want to point out any projects you have done in the past that utilized Facebook and helped [your current] company connect better with its target customers and audience," says Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor.com's career and workplace expert.
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