If you're job hunting--and especially if you're a new grad who is job hunting--you need to make sure all your social media is cleaned up and ready for prime time, but especially Facebook. Why? Because you may have a weird Tumblr name or a cutesy Twitter handle, but Facebook is based on real names. That makes it super easy for recruiters and hiring managers to search and find.
Your Facebook Profile Matters More than Mine Does.
As my children like to remind me, I'm old. I finished graduate school in December 1999 and have worked ever since. I have a solid work record. I have great references. And, since for the past 8 years I've worked as a writer, I have a huge portfolio that is easily accessible.
You? You have a shiny new degree, an internship or two, and three summers at Burger King. These are all great. But, they are also pretty much identical to the person who marched before you and the person who marched after you at graduation. This means there isn't much to differentiate the average new grad's resume from any other new grad's resume. Checking you out to see how you portray yourself online gives recruiters extra insight into you--good or bad.
So, here are three things you need to take care of.
1. Lock down your profile.
Your profile should be set to only friends. I shouldn't be able to look up your name and find out anything about you other than your name and profile picture, and maybe a reference to where you went to school. I shouldn't be able to see your posts or your friends.
Why hide your friends? Because some of your friends are dumber than a box of hair. While they shouldn't reflect on you, they might, so why take that risk?
2. Choose your profile picture carefully.
This isn't LinkedIn, so you don't have to look professional in your pictures. You just need to look like you're a responsible adult. You can be with your cat. You can be with your boyfriend. You can even have your profile picture be a picture of your cat. That's fine.
What's not fine is a picture of you drinking, a political meme (regardless of the side of the aisle you're on), or a picture where you're trying to look sexy or shocking. Yes, I know, if you're graduating from college you're probably over 21 and a legal drinker. Humor me. Yes, your political beliefs are super important and you want everyone to know what you think. Take it down. Unless you're applying to partisan organizations, people don't want to hire someone who will talk politics all the time. And as for sexy or shocking? If you need me to explain this one, please go visit your 7th-grade principal and ask her why.
3. Untag yourself.
If your friends are super responsible people, you don't have to worry about tagging, but what if they aren't? Or what if they are trying to be funny? What if? If you don't want it to appear on your timeline and possibly in front of a recruiter's face, untag yourself. Remember if you're tagged in a public post, everyone can see it and see that it's you.
Is all this extreme? Sure. Should recruiters and hiring managers care about your Facebook page? No. Do they? Some absolutely do. So make sure that you care about how you appear as well, or you reduce the number of companies that might be interested in interviewing you.