I was considering applying for a job in the online social media industry, but got turned off when I noticed the listing asks for a cover letter, resume, writing and blog samples, and a Facebook page link. I'm fully aware that employers use Facebook and Google to research candidates, but I don't like the fact that they want to scope me out before they meet me. I'm smart, qualified, have relevant experience and I have a fairly normal Facebook, but would feel funny sharing it with a potential employer. Do you think my application will get put to the bottom of the pile if I don't play the networking game with the recruiter?
Savvy says: Oh! The modern dilemma! To see why you should share if you dare,
For those of us who hunted for jobs pre-social networking a recruiter asking for a Facebook link or online profile may seem odd. Especially given we hear stories like the one about the girl who tweeted herself out of a job or tales of recruiters judging applicants based on drunken photos on Flickr, Facebook, Myspace or even Google Image.
The chance of being selected or rejected based on your photo seems harsh, but if you are applying for a social media industry job the recruiter may just want to know how active you are online. If you really don't have anything to hide (think lingerie parties or pukey pics), and already use Facebook as a networking tool, then play with your privacy settings so that the hiring manager can't see anything you don't want them to, find a professional profile photo (or a cute pic of your puppy or favorite beach) and send her the link. Recent studies show your online reputation could actually help you get a job, so spend some time cleaning up your Internet act and just click send. If you still feel Facebook shy, you might consider sending a link to your Linkedin account to reaffirm your professionalism, but show you are comfortable networking online.
All that being said, if you don't feel comfortable sharing, then don't. It's your right to keep your private life private and if your resume and cover letter impress, you'll still get a call from the recruiter. I can't imagine anyone in her right mind would fault you for not sharing your Facebook.
Note: This advice is tailored specifically for this reader who is applying for an Internet job. I do not recommend sending a link to your profile unless you are applying for a position where your Internet activity counts as experience or expertise. A good hiring manager will know how to use Google to find all the pics, status updates and online profiles you have ever set up if her heart desires.
Photo courtesy of FX