By Kelley Flynn, Chapter Member
Most people use Facebook every day. We put our whole lives on it. It is being used by billions and not just to meet new friends. Companies check potential employees’ Facebook pages in the hiring process. This way they can weed out the applicants that they think may not be good at representing their company. So, how do we know what is acceptable? Do we use it only as a business tool and leave our personal lives behind? Or, do we just use Facebook like we always have and pay no attention to the eyes on us? The answer is neither. It isn’t just one sided; it’s a little bit of both.
My golden rule for Facebook is: don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandparents to see. Employers understand that you’re still a person. No one expects you to be a business professional 24/7. You just need to find a balance between personality and professionalism.
Think of yourself as a brand. Your job is to keep your brand’s image intact. You don’t need to stop posting all together, but start making choices of what you think you should post. Be selective. Before you post, think to yourself, ”How does this make me look? What does this say about me? Am I okay with that?”
So first things first! Clean up your profile so you can start fresh. What you decided to post in high school has probably changed. Scan through and start picking out pictures that don’t represent you in the best light. For example, the picture of you drunkenly throwing up on a stranger’s car- delete. The picture of you volunteering at an animal shelter–keep. It’s easy. If you take the time to go through them it will be simple to figure out what is appropriate.
The next thing to do is to delete the people on your friend list with whom you wouldn’t want to be associated. The saying, “You are who you are associated with,” is also true on Facebook, and that dude on your friends list you met at a party three years ago may just be the man your dream job recently fired for coming to work drunk.
Go into the “about” section of your profile. You know the part that was important to you during your freshman year of high school, but you haven’t looked at since? Make sure your friends haven’t logged in and changed your political views to devil-worshipping anarchist or anything like that.
After you have made sure your about page is actually about you, look at what is directly on your page. You don’t have to check your statuses from 2009, but go down about three months and remove any posts about how much you hate your parents or how drunk you got before you drove home.
Finally, you can move on with your more professional social presence and begin making careful choices about how you’d like to be represented. It seems tedious at first, but once you start to do it you will be glad you made the effort.