Facebook - bad for career prospects

I've always been a bit suspicious of social networks - they seem to be all about showing off more than anything else, and also, I don't look good in photographs - but now comes evidence that social networking can damage your career prospects

Tags: Facebook IncorporationSocial networkingWeb 2.0
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By  Mark Sutton Published  September 15, 2008

I've always been a bit suspicious of social networks - they seem to be all about showing off more than anything else, and also, I don't look good in photographs - but now comes evidence that social networking can damage your career prospects.

In a US survey by CareerBuilder.com, one in five employers said they check candidates' profiles on social networking sites before hiring, and one third of these have rejected candidates based purely on what they found lurking on those sites. The survey found a whole host of reasons why employers kicked out applications, although some savvy users are actually tailoring their online profiles to make themselves look more employable.

CareerBuilder.com said that the top turn-offs for employers include:

  • 40% - candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information
  • 29% - candidate had poor communication skills
  • 28% - candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee
  • 27% - candidate lied about qualifications
  • 22% - candidate used discriminatory remarks related to race, gender, religion, etc.
  • 22% - candidate’s screen name was unprofessional
  • 21% - candidate was linked to criminal behavior
  • 19% - candidate shared confidential information from previous employers

    The site has some advice for job-seekers though, namely:

    • Clean up digital dirt. Make sure to remove pictures, content and links that can send the wrong message to a potential employer before you start your job search.
    • Update your profile regularly. Make sure to include specific accomplishments, inside and outside of work.
    • Monitor comments. Since you can’t control what other people say on your site, you may want to use the "block comments" feature.
    • Join groups selectively. While joining a group with a fun or silly name may seem harmless, "Party Monsters R Us" may not give the best impression to a hiring manager. Also be selective about who you accept as "friends."
    • Go private. Consider setting your profile to "private," so only designated friends can view it.

    Which just about strains every last drop of fun out of social networking.

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