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September 2 2018

Still can’t land a job interview? It’s your Facebook, stupid!

It’s been weeks since you posted a job application online but till now your inbox remains empty. So, you revise your resume over and over. You follow Elon Musk’s advice to keep it to a page, make it simple, remove your references, and get rid of that “hobbies” section. You write a killer cover letter and beef it up with links to your portfolio. It’s Trump level UHMMAHZING! You resend your resume again…and again…and again. Zilch. You ask yourself: What is missing? What am I doing wrong?

If you find yourself in a similar conundrum, you might want to take a step back and focus away from your resume a bit. A recent online survey by US-based Career Builder showed that 70 percent of employers scan the social media accounts of their applicants for background checking.

In a recent conversation with the head of a top headhunting firm in the country, he told me that prospective employees need to “clean” their Facebook posts first before applying.

“We see everything now and it gives us perspective,” he said. “Their Facebook accounts show us more than what they want us to see in their resumes.”

The easiest thing to do now perhaps is to just keep your entire FB profile private right? Easy. But this is still no guarantee. In fact, if you send a friend request or a simple message to a “private” account would you “…will have temporary access to view a small portion of your profile. They will see Basic Info, Personal Info, Work Info, Education Info, and Friends.” That’s from FB’s Help Page.

The fact of the matter is, whether we like it or not, our Facebook profiles have become our online resume. This means, a lot of job hunters need to be extra careful about what they post on their personal account because these could potentially ruin their chances for an interview. So what do you do then?

Below are my suggestions on how to turn your Facebook into an online resume:

Screen all posted photos.

Even when your profile is private, a quick search to your name will yield the first vital clue to who you are: your profile picture.

Unless you’re applying as an underwear model, you might want to reconsider keeping that swimsuit picture. Topless photos for men during the summer season is expected, forgivable, but it shouldn’t be an all-year-round thing.

At least when you’re still applying for a job, hide or delete incriminating photos that you have. Be mindful of your captions as well. Invest in a good photo that you can post on your profile: it must be in high-resolution, preferably well-dressed, no distracting elements other than your bright smile.

Edit your profile.

You wonder why you’re still jobless? It’s because you remain to work at “Krusty Crab” and “eH di Sa PusO mo!!!” Stop. Please, just no.

You want to enter the corporate world? Be more professional. Fill out your “About Section” as you would your resume. Be factual. Link to relevant pages. In your “Featured Photos” choose images that will describe your personal and professional life. Preferably fully clothed.

Have you gone on an educational fellowship abroad? Have you received any awards? Did you get invited for a talk? Highlight those pictures or reshare them. Throw in a little #ThrowbackThursday in the photo for context. If you want to humblebrag about something, do so strategically.

Remove all political posts.

Whether you’re yellow or a DDS remove all political posts from your Facebook page (at least while you are hunting for a job). Your dream employer might turn out to be from the other side of the political fence and if he sees you from the opponent’s side, good luck.

I’ve heard several HR personnel tell me: “He’s competent and a good candidate for the position but he’s a DDS…” or “…he’s dilawan.”

I’m not telling you to refrain from being political if you are passionate about it. Fine, sure, go practice your right to freedom of expression. But employers may judge your entire competence for the job based on your political bias. And should that be the entire definition of who you are? Think about it.

Review what you shared.

Sharing is caring, as Barney said. In social media however, what you share is also an extension of your beliefs, sentiments, and opinions. No words are needed. So be careful about sharing content that might bring a negative light to your character.

Make your profile public.

After you’ve “cleaned” your profile, you should share it publicly. Yes Virginia, be open about it. Nothing screams confidence to an employer than unrestricted access to your profile page. Weird, right? But when employers see that you are unafraid to share your personal information, they may feel that you can be trusted. It’s that level of disclosure that warrants people’s trust. But again, it’s all up to you at this point, job hunter.

Rightly or wrongly, your Facebook profile has become the most visible online representation of who you are. I have been telling people over and over that you can create two profiles if you want: one for your closest friends/loved ones (preferably under 300) and another one that you can share publicly. The main thing to consider is that, online, you CAN control your narrative and self-image. Now, what that image is, is all up to you. But, from now on, be more strategic with your post and please, take down your topless profile pics. It’s Habagat season for chrissakes, you might just end up with a cold.