Saturday, April 17, 2010

Censoring your Facebook for the Road Ahead

I recently read an article on CNN called “Young job-seekers hiding their Facebook pages", by Stephanie Goldberg. This article revealed the lengths in which young jobseekers are going to hide their identity online. Many of these individuals are changing their names, or profile pictures to trick the companies but many are not successful. A recent survey commissioned by Microsoft found that 70 percent of recruiters and hiring managers in the United States have rejected an applicant based on information they found online. Many of these applicants have not gone through their Facebook and censored it to be "applicant" friendly. I learned many of these tips last year at the PRSSA National Assembly.

First, make sure to understand your privacy settings, and use them! My advice is to keep your profile private to people who are not your friend. If you keep it open, future employers have the freedom to look through your social media page and critique you’re every move. You may friend these employers and add them to certain "lists" on your privacy setting that enables them to only see certain parts of your profile.

Next, clean up your profile. This means to go through all aspects of your page. Go through your info, photos, and even your wall posts. Here are the top ten turn-offs for employers on social networking websites:

1. References to drug abuse
2. Extremist / intolerant views, including racism, sexism
3. Criminal activity
4. Evidence of excessive alcohol consumption
5. Inappropriate pictures, including nudity
6. Foul language
7. Links to unsuitable websites
8. Lewd jokes
9. Silly email addresses
10. Membership of pointless / silly groups

Once your profile is employer safe, make sure to keep it clean. If you are tagged in an inappropriate photo for the workplace make sure those people cannot see your tagged pictures, or better yet make your privacy where no one can see what pictures you’re tagged in. Just because you have the job does not mean you can let your Facebook page go wild. You can still be fired over your social media self. 


  1. This is so true! I cannot even remember how many times various professors have told us to be weary of the information we post online, whether it be on facebook, myspace, twitter, personal blogs, etc. But things that we see as harmless fun might actually cost us a future job. I think students need to be aware of this and realize how, like you proved, many companies do take the time to look at their applicants online presence. I also really like that facebook now lets each person control their privacy settings to their liking. This makes it so much easier to control content. But even so, we should all still take the time to “clean up” our profiles and make them as professional as possible.

  2. I have definitely cleaned up my Facebook profile but I sometimes wonder if its really worth it. Of course, having inappropriate pictures and comments on your Facebook page wont get you far, but would you really want to work for a company who doesn't approve of, say, a beer during Happy Hour? I think everyone should clean up their profiles, but not so much as to erase their personality.