7 Must Haves To Make Facebook Work For Your Job Search

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There are plenty of ways to take a hammer to your employment prospects on Facebook. You could allegedly post homophobic slurs when you work for a liberal town government or post that parents are "retarded" when you are a teacher. You could also show pictures and attitudes that scare off recruiters or hiring managers.

And yet, Facebook increasingly could be a career friend -- if you know how to make it work for you. That means keeping the right information current and public, while tidying up those messy areas you don't want a potential boss to see.

Although LinkedIn may be the first association between social networks and recruiting, there is also a growing interest in using Facebook, as evidenced by new tools for recruiters, according to Mashable. This will be important for those who aren't in white collar occupations.

"In the same way that LinkedIn has changed recruiting for [white collar] jobs, Facebook will do that for everybody else."

[Work4 CEO Stéphane[ Le Viet said he hopes that Facebook will be a goldmine of sorts when it comes to recruiting nurses, truck drivers and those in the restaurant industry.

Graph search is the trick
It's Facebook's graph search -- the ability to look for people who represent a certain set of characteristics -- that makes it a potentially powerful tool for companies seeking workers. A manager or recruiter could seek "machinists near Wichita, Kansas."

Companies could seek people with a particular educational background or a particular combination of experiences that fit their needs. However, such a search does no good to would-be employees who might be a match but don't have their information in Facebook.

Beef up your profile
There are a few areas you should be sure to fill out in your Facebook profile.
  • Location. Let a company know where you currently live. Any search is bound to focus on people near to the company.
  • Education. Companies often want to know your education history. Clearly show much schooling you have finished and where you attended.
  • Occupation. If you can't manage anything else, be sure that you say what it is you do for a living.
  • Work. List the places you have worked in the past. If there was something of note that you did, highlight it by clicking on Add a Project and fill in the details.
  • Professional skills. The professional skills category was recently added, as the blog Sociobits.org reported. It comes at the end of Work and Education and lets you fill in special skills -- for the machinist example, it might be using computerized milling equipment -- that companies may be looking for.

Make the right things public
Leaving too much of the wrong things public on your profile can cost you opportunities. But for name, education, occupation, work, location, and professional skills, be sure that you set the privacy rating to public so anyone can see it. Otherwise, all the time you just spent updating what becomes your Facebook resume won't matter because companies wouldn't be able to see it.

And leave everything else private
Maybe you've led the life of the perfect Boy or Girl Scout. Chances are that you haven't. As a precaution, set information that doesn't have a direct bearing on your career to friends only. That way, even if you forgot that intemperate remark about a previous employer, which could make you sound difficult, it won't be available to the insatiable curiosity of the hiring manager.
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