With hiring all but at a standstill, job seekers can't afford to miss any tools available for promoting themselves. And according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Facebook is the newest way that employers are reaching potential employees. So if your Facebook page is just a way to stay in touch with friends from high school, you're missing a great opportunity. The first step is hiding personal information, especially wall posts, through stringent privacy settings -- for example, by specifying that tagged photos of you are visible only to you. Then, develop the rest of your page to appeal to recruiters that might be using Facebook to find job candidates, or Googling you to learn more about how you conduct yourself. Here's how:
1. Post a Profile Headshot, not a Snapshot If you want your Facebook page to look professional, hire a pro to take your pic. "That one picture is your first impression," says Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding.
2. Tell a Professional Story of Yourself Post pictures of you at work, not at play, say J.T. O'Donnell, CEO of CareerHMO.com: "For example, build a gallery of photos of you in action at work with little captions for each one. A personal chef could show themselves in the kitchen making a healthy meal for a family." Include any press about yourself, or simply create a Q&A about your unique talents.
3. Tout Testimonials If you have professional recommendations, include them on your page. If not, ask pals to promote you. "The personal chef should get friends to post their favorite thing she cooks on her wall, etc. The more endorsements, the better," says O'Donnell.
4. Include Professional Contact Info Think of your Facebook page as a launching pad to bounce HR and hiring managers to the rest of your relevant professional websites. "Include your website and LinkedIn profile links under contact information so interested employers can find out more about you," says Schawbel.
5. Don't Let Photos Pop Up by Default "Make sure the last five photos tagged of you best represent you as a professional because they are displayed at the top of your profile," advises Shawbel. Depending on your industry, these could be more headshots, candids at networking events or conferences, or additional action snaps.
6. Connect with Old Co-Workers and Current Colleagues Networking is not new, but networking on Facebook may be new to you. "With more than 750 million active users on Facebook, you never know who you might connect with for that next business opportunity," says Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor's career and workplace expert.
7. Be a Joiner Find professional groups and associations for networking opportunities and job news. "They're not only good to be associated with but you never know what type of information you may be able to pick up that could give you an edge in the hiring process," says Rueff.
8. Be Discreet Keep the details of your job search -- include how interviews are going -- off your page, says Rueff. If your current employer finds out you're interviewing before you give notice, you could lose your job. And you could also hurt your chances of landing a particular job by sharing too much information with your network. Finally, potential employers may not like the process being publicized, and could hold it against you.
9. Proofread, Edit, and Update Your Page Finally, just like your resume, your Facebook page needs to be carefully crafted and continually reviewed. "Establish a powerful personal brand via concise language and compelling adjectives regarding your career skills and accomplishments," says Meghan M. Biro, principal & founder of TalentCulture.
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