We’ve been conducting a little experiment. Every time one of you lovely graduates likes our Facebook page, we click on your profile. Not to be nosy you understand, but to gauge how savvy graduate job seekers are about privacy on social media.
What have we learnt? Well, let’s just say you’re all having a cracking time out there! Mostly we’re envious, occasionally we’re shocked and every now and then, we’re impressed. Impressed because we can’t see anything about you. Nothing. Zilch. Nada.
And with Facebook, that’s how it should be. It’s a social forum and while even serious graduate types are allowed to have fun, recruiters don’t need to see you dancing on tables, pouting in selfies or swapping risky anecdotes. They will look – probably before you even meet at interview – and you don’t want to lose out on a great job as a result.
So take these steps now to lock down your Facebook activities….
#1 Set your audience to ‘friends’. For everything.
The most obvious and yet the most overlooked step!
#2 Use your name wisely
Facebook probably has some rules about this so we’re not suggesting you adopt a false identity or anything but you could do away with your surname and just use your first and middle names. Or use a shortened version of your first name whilst using the full version for job applications. Or an initial for your first name or surname. You get the picture. Anything which makes it harder for complete strangers to find you but is still recognisable to your family and friends.
#3 Guard your timeline
You might be really careful what you post but what about your mates? We all have at least one friend who has form in dropping us in it. You can keep this in check by changing your ‘Timeline & Tagging’ settings so that all posts to your page have to be approved by you first.
#4 Limit the audience for your old posts
In Privacy Settings & Tools, you can limit the audience for your past posts. Handy if you haven’t always had recruiters in mind when posting….
#5 Don’t allow search engines to link to your timeline
In Privacy Settings & Tools, select ‘no’ for ‘do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?’ Far better that your LinkedIn profile takes centre stage online.
#6 Remember that old cover photos remain public
Even if you lock down your page, anyone can see your cover photos – going back a long way. Time to get into the habit of using innocuous images. A beautiful landscape from your holiday snaps isn’t going to offend anyone.
#7 Go undercover
Facebook has a handy option to view your profile as others would. Once you’re happy with your settings, go undercover by clicking on the 3 dots icon at the bottom of your cover photo to double check all is as it should be.
Now this isn’t an exhaustive list for Facebook. You do, of course, have to be aware of a whole raft of security measures to protect your online privacy. For a complete checklist, FaceCrooks is a good starting point.
Time invested now in tidying up your settings will be well worth it when you come to apply for jobs. But please, don’t stop having fun – just be more discreet online so that we don’t feel quite so envious.
Charlotte is a graduate with many years’ experience in both large and small organisations. She now works as a consultant to a range of SMEs across the south west and is a Non-Executive Director of Gradsouthwest.