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What not to do on Facebook

February 3, 2010

Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m addicted to my Facebook.

I check it on my phone, on my computer and on other people’s computers. I can’t get away from it. All of my friends have a page, even my mother and grandparents have pages.  It’s a wonder I get any work done at all.

Social media has revolutionized how we interact, make friends, share and express ourselves. It’s also changed the way employers get to know us before we even take a step inside the office.

I know that college is a time for both business and fun, but students looking for jobs and internships should be careful about how they broadcast their downtime over Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.

At the interview for my first internship, I heard the three words that could make or break me: “I Googled you.” Luckily for me, they were pretty relaxed about my Facebook page, but other employers might not be.

Go ahead, Google yourself right now. Does your Facebook come up? MySpace? Twitter? What happens when you click on it? Can you see all the pictures from spring break in Miami or read all your tweets about recovering from last night’s party?

You want to present yourself in a responsible way to employers. So posting unfortunate pictures of yourself at a party or making all your status updates about your partying will not give employers a good impression.

I’d like to offer a plausible solution to this dilemma: make your accounts private. By making your Facebook private,it would prevent employers—or anyone else you’re not friends with— from seeing your pictures,status’ and other information you don’t want them to know.

And when you get that internship or job, there are still some things you should avoid:

1. Wait to add your boss or co-workers, or don’t do it at all

When you first get hired, you want your employers and co-workers to recognize you for your hard work, not your profile picture. And if you do end up friending them, you’ll have to be careful what you say and what you post, so it’s just better to avoid that.

2. Never do it at work

Unless your work is to deal with the company’s social media sites, you shouldn’t be on them at work. At my first internship, the girl who had the job before me spent most of her three months there on Facebook while she was supposed to be doing work. You know how they knew? They checked her computer’s history every day. Being on your social media sites shows you care more about the funny video your best friend just posted than your work.

3. Don’t link your personal sites to your company’s sites

The two companies I’ve interned for both used Facebook and Twitter, and the logical thing would be to friend their pages or follow them, right? Wrong. The whole reason you made your account private was so that they couldn’t see what you were posting, and adding them would allow them that access.

Whether you think it’s right for an employer to look at your Facebook and judge you on it , the reality is that most of them will. It’s very simple to make your social media private, and this lets you enjoy posting those pictures while not worrying about how your job will view you.

-The Intern

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

LA February 4, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Excellent advice! I agree – if you don’t want to monitor every single thing you post on your social media pages, it’s best to avoid friending coworkers and employers. Also – it’s not just what you post, but also what friends post on your page that can get you in trouble.

Another great option? Create two pages! Have one page for friends and another page for coworkers… and use your discretion as to what to post on each page.

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Maggie Menderski March 17, 2010 at 5:21 am

Excellent advice, but what if your twitter and facebook are clean? I’ve always been told its better to have clean social media than blocked social media. Social media can offer insight to your personality, and you’re always able to control what they see. It’s a shame to block tweets and avoid “fanning” companies. I know friends who have learned about (and landed) internships through Facebook at Twitter.

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