Thursday, February 11, 2010

Job Seekers - 20 Ways To Brand Yourself On Facebook

Today, hiring managers find information about candidates from more places than their resume. Candidates, as well, have opportunities to market themselves in more places than just their resume.

Facebook, the 800 pound gorilla of social networking is an obvious place for job seekers to build your social brand.

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Yes, Linkedin is business oriented and doesn’t have games, but Facebook is 8 times the size of Linkedin. In addition, Facebook is the top website used to search for people. If you’re a candidate, you want to be searched for and want to be found.

With Facebook now over 400 million users, with a large percentage over 30, Facebook is a relevant job search tool for candidates.

While Linkedin can be very effective in promoting your professional skills, Facebook gives employers insight into into who you are as a person. Through effective use of Facebook’s privacy control, job seekers can separate what employers can see from what your friends see.

In addition, Facebook profiles are indexed by Google – which means if an employer Googles a job seeker by name, your Facebook profile will turn up as a result.

The greater number of friends you have, the more relevant your profile is to Google, and higher your profile will rank on Google results. The good news is that you can allow employers to find you and the information – that you control – on Facebook. The bad news is that you might also allow your stalker ex-boyfriend to find that same information.

Job seekers should assume that they will be searched online by recruiters, before an interview is scheduled, when making short list decisions, and before a final offer is extended. In addition, recruiters and HR departments are not just searching to find dirt, but are using Facebook and Google more frequently to find new candidates. There is a whole cottage industry that trains recruiters how to use Google, Linkedin, and Facebook to find candidates, especially passive candidates.

Assuming you don’t have any stalkers in the picture, here’s some steps of developing a controlled Facebook profile to brand yourself as a candidate.

Scrub your profile:
  1. Facebook Inventory: Most Facebook users assume that only their friends will see their wall, pictures, and posts. Once you start opening parts of your profile up, you’ll want to assume that anyone can see everything on your profile (I’ll explain how you can control what is public vs private below). By assuming that everything is public, you can avoid embarrassment later. Create a list (or spreadsheet) of everything on your Facebook page that you wouldn’t want your mom (or boss) to see (See: If you’re especially fond of that picture of you dancing on the Coyote Ugly bar in a bra with a beer bottle in each hand – if you can’t bear to delete it, at least make sure you keep track of it, so you can mark it private, Dude.
  2. Clean it up: Better yet, delete those items.
  3. Mark items private: For those items you can’t bear to part with, mark them private, enabling only your friends to see them. If you leave embarrassing pictures or posts marked as private on Facebook, better make sure you don’t friend potential employers or your boss – because everyone you friend may be able to see the skeletons you’ve posted in your Facebook closet.
  4. Control the distribution of future posts:
  5. At the top of your Facebook wall (on your profile), there is a status box (it says “What’s on your mind?”). Just under your status box, there is a lock icon, with a dropdown arrow, allowing you distribution control over wall posts. You can customize to only post to friends, only to certain people, or to exclude certain people. The default is to everyone, but you can control this through Facebook privacy settings.
  6. Avoid surprises: You can control who is allowed to post on your wall, and can approve pictures (where you are tagged) before they end up on your profile. You can adjust this though your account menu – privacy settings. I also recommend that you adjust your email notifications, so that Facebook sends an email when someone tags you to a picture or posts on your wall. This allows you know what’s on your profile and control distribution or delete as necessary.

  7. Build your professional profile:
  8. Summarize: Use the info tab as a summary of your work experience.
    • Active Candidates: make sure your info tab indicates you are looking for a job. This lets your friends know, without being a glommer (See: Additionally, your long lost high school and college friends may stumble upon you and happen to work at a company that needs a person like you. Facebook can help this “luck” happen.
    • Passive Candidates: Unless you want your boss to find out that you’re looking for a new job, don’t advertise it actively on Facebook. Instead use Facebook to broadcast your expertise.
  9. Personal portfolio: While you can’t easily post documents to Facebook, you can post links by including a link in your info section, using Facebook’s share function, or by including a link on your wall posts. More advanced Facebook users who are active candidates can set up a customized tab named “resume” or “portfolio”. You can save your resume, work samples, powerpoints, etc. (see: online and post the links for public sharing on Facebook (try or Google docs).

  10. Build your Facebook network:
  11. Expand your network of friends: Facebook allows you to build groups of friends, allowing you to message only certain groups, and allow only certain groups to see content that you post on Facebook. Start to expand your friends by building groups of recruiters, industry contacts, local networking contacts, and hubs (See:
  12. Join Groups: Facebook allows you to join a large number of groups. There are a large number of industry, business, and job search groups that can have relevant information and industry contacts valuable in your job search. The groups you join can be seen publicly on your profile (you can block this information in aggregate), so be careful about joining that group discussing cutting-edge basement weed farming techniques.
  13. Integrate other networks: As you meet people at networking events, invite them to Facebook (as well as Linkedin). When you get Linkedin requests, also invite them to Facebook (and vice-versa). You’ll find different people in someone’s Facebook network than in their Linkedin network, allowing you to expand your networking reach.
  14. Remember Facebook’s limitations: Facebook only allows you to have 5,000 friends. While this seems like a lot, if you are an active job seeker, you can hit these limits. Facebook has business pages (you can set one up for yourself personally) for those who want to have a network of over 5K.
  15. Research target companies: Find people who work for your target companies by searching Facebook, and especially by searching Facebook groups (See: Since Facebook is more personal than Linkedin, remember that many users may not accept a friend request from someone they don’t know. Sending an industry related article, or something related to their personal interests can help start a conversation or email trail to build relationships that lead to Facebook links. Other ideas on using Facebook for research can be adapted from an article I published on using Twitter for research before an interview (See:
  16. Connect with your network: Facebook is a great communications tool. Connecting with your expanded friend network either through Facebook or outside of Facebook (remember those old-fashioned devices called phones or email?). Facebook can be a great way to start guerrilla job search methods to gain inside information on a company (See:

  17. Build and promote your expertise:
  18. Post industry articles to your wall: Share with your network indirectly through your wall and directly via Facebook’s messaging system industry articles.
  19. Use the status bar as a megaphone: Use Facebook’s status bar to share industry articles, articles you wrote, your thoughts on industry developments, or even your resume (active job seekers) with your Facebook network. The status bar gets your information into Facebook’s news feed, making it searchable, and allowing widespread distribution. This is similar to Twitter, only 8 times as large with far better search capabilities.
  20. ResuBlog: Use Facebook as a starter ResuBlog (See:, or use Facebook to republish and promote readership in your existing blog. Share articles, post to your status bar and build your subject matter expertise.
  21. What Facebook won’t do:Facebook won’t find you a job: Only you can find yourself a job. Facebook can broaden your network, your exposure, your searchability, and your subject matter expertise, but you still have to find yourself a job.

  22. Finally, a nod to the Facebook haters:
  23. Facebook is for kids: Sure it started with kids, but Facebook now has over 400M users. It’s largest and fastest growing demographic is over 30, according to a Time Magazine Article a year ago “Why Facebook is for old fogies” (old fogies referring to all of us over 30). In fact, statistics were recently published that there are more grandparents on Facebook than students.
  24. Facebook is all about games: Sure, there’s a segment who are on Facebook for Mafia Wars, Farmville, and other popular games on Facebook. There are far more people who are on Facebook as part of their daily business routine, using it as a larger version of Linkedin. Why? Facebook has an advantage over Linkedin – Facebook is 8 times the size of Linkedin. And in social networks, size is one thing that matters.

  25. Facebook isn’t the silver bullet:
  26. Facebook isn’t the only answer: I recommend using Facebook as just one tool in your arsenal of job search tools. These strategies take time, and Facebook is an easy time waster, especially if you get caught up in the games and personal drama of people’s lives. I recommend carving out a specific amount of time to work on Facebook each day. Don’t expect to do it all in a day, but making Facebook a part of your overall job search strategy can pay big dividends.
While Facebook can be an investment of time, it can help job seekers control and promote their personal brand very effectively, to a wide audience. Best yet, a well designed Facebook profile can get your information into the databases of hundreds of thousands of recruiters and HR staff, increasing your chances to “get lucky”.

Candidates, please comment with your suggestions. How can you use Facebook to build your own personal brand?

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Related Articles: 10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Job Search Using Facebook
11 Twitter Tips - Job Search in 140 Characters

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