So often we are told what NOT to do on our Facebook profile. Don’t post photos of
yourself passed out with your skirt up around your ears; don’t check-in at Cottesloe
Beach when you have called in sick to work; and don’t Like incriminating Pages,
such as ‘Western Australian Booze Bus Locations.’ Now of course this is all very
useful advice, but it does raise the question – what SHOULD we be doing on our
Facebook profiles? We know our profile has great potential to cause harm to our
digital reputation and future prospects. But could there also be a potential
opportunity to create a good digital reputation and increase future prospects?
Put your best face forward
Facebook – and other social media profiles – give us this unprecedented ability to
carve out our own public image, so make it a good one! Showcase all the good
things you do, not just the good times you have. More often than not, it is the night
out with friends that we document digitally. But why not also document all the hard
work you do at school/university/work, or check-in with the charity organisation you
volunteer for, or choose a profile picture that shows you to be happy, caring and
responsible. Use Facebook as a platform to highlight your best features,
characteristics, hobbies and skills.
Use your Likes for good
Instead of liking the ‘Embarrassing Snap Chat Leaks Page’ or the ‘Drunk as ****’
Page, try Liking Pages that reflect the positive interests and passions you have.
Think about your positive characteristics – the ones you always highlight on your CV
– then think of Pages you can Like that reflect your interest in these passions. For
example, you may list helping others as something you enjoy doing, so Like the
‘Australian Red Cross’ or ‘Oxfam Australia’ Page, or if you are an aspiring teacher,
Like the ‘Teaching Resources’ Page. For example, I am (hoping, at least) to forge a
career in communications/social media/marketing, and as such one of the Pages I
have Liked is ‘Mashable’ – a site dedicated to sharing news and information
regarding these topics. That way, people can see this is something I am interested
in, while at the same time I am learning all sorts of new things about the industry.
By Liking Pages that reflect your stated interests and passions, you can
demonstrate to potential recruiters that you are serious about your chosen area.
Think of it as a virtual way of walking the talk.
Keep your friends close…
…So close, in fact, that they are hidden from public view. Imagine you have gone to
all the trouble of cleaning up your profile, selecting a suitable profile picture and
Liked all the right Pages in hopes of impressing a future employer. Now imagine
they take a look through your Friends list and see that their profile pictures consist
mainly of half-naked girls in nightclubs and boys throwing up in someone else’s
front yard. You do not want to be judged by the company you keep, so I strongly
suggest hiding your Facebook friends from public view! This can be done quite
simply by going to the ‘Friends’ tab on your Profile, clicking the ‘Manage’ icon and
selecting the ‘Edit Privacy’ option. From here you can determine who can see your
Friends list: Public, Friends, Friends except Acquaintances, Only Me or Custom.
Keep them guessing.
There is a fine line between showing the world your good side, and showing them
too much. Take the time to understand your profile privacy settings and adjust as
you see fit. For example, after reading the paragraphs above, you may like to keep
your Likes public, so that potential recruiters can see you really do care about the
environment, or that you spend a lot of time at the Library studying. But, you may
not want them to see your check-in to Paramount Nightclub at 3.00 am last
Saturday night! Review your privacy settings and regularly use the ‘View As…’
feature to check what the public can see of your profile!