Choose the Right Facebook Profile Picture
Before you head to a job interview, you probably take time to iron your clothes, print out extra copies of your resumé, work with prep questions … and take a deep breath. But did you think to iron out your Facebook profile?
Interviews remain a critical part of the hiring process, but the explosion of social media sites has given prospective employers the ability to see the “you” that you present when you’re not wearing your interview finery. So when that hiring manager researches you online (this happens more frequently than you might think) and finds your Facebook profile, which photo will he or she see?
First let’s talk about the kinds of photos that make a good impression.
The professional headshot Facebook profile picture
This profile picture is simple, clean and elegant. If that one picture is all the hiring manager sees, it will cast you as a positive individual who values integrity, responsibility and professional decorum. You have the power to proactively craft your online image. What does it look like right now?
The family shot Facebook profile picture
As a job seeker you want to portray an engaging, active and vital identity. A nice picture of you with your family suggests that you lead a content, full life outside of work — without inviting the hiring manager to dig more deeply.
And then there are some not-so-great choices that can really throw a wrench into your job plans.
The party picture Facebook profile picture
It goes without saying that photos of you slumped over a toilet, scantily dressed on a dance floor or in some other state of indelicacy will probably detract from your professional image. Take them down before they become a permanent part of your reputation. And if such memorable moments are a regular part of your social activities, consider doing a Web search for other recorded indiscretions that might ruin your job prospects.
The Halloween costume Facebook profile picture
That Halloween photo of you in a clever but politically incorrect costume might get a few giggles from your friends, but your soon-to-be ex-manager isn’t likely to be amused. When you’re dealing with your online reputation, it’s best to play it safe and avoid gag pictures.
The bottom line
You never know who’s looking at your Facebook page — which is why you should assume that everyone is. Become a master of Facebook’s privacy settings, and check back in from time to time when those policies are updated. If you’re looking for a job, take a few minutes to consider your profile from an outsider’s perspective. Does it portray you in a way that you wouldn’t want to cultivate in your prospective employer’s office? If it does, do a little redecorating; your career will thank you.