Social Networking

Social Networking Tips




A Facebook Faux Pas Can Lead to a Long Job Search


April 25, 2011 New York, NY – More than 75% of college students may be using Facebook in a way that will damage their opportunities for a job after they graduate. In a research study examining college students’ use of Facebook several examples of unprofessional postings were reported by students attending a sample of 100 colleges and universities in the United States. Researchers noted that male students are more likely to post a “Facebook Faux Pas” than female students.


The research revealed that several key features of Facebook were found to display information — text or photos — that if not carefully thought through, could convey an image or character traits that most employers do not want in a prospective employee.


Our research examined the primary photos that students use as their identity, a sample of other photos in their album, status updates, organizations that they belong to, and events that they are encouraging others to attend.  We found that 76% of the students had something that an employer might find offensive.  We did not look at all the material on the students’ sites and we did not include an examination of the photos of friends, which can be an issue for some people.  Based on these factors, the 76% number is probably on the low side of problem material likely to be found on college students’ Facebook pages.

Recruitment experts agree that the use of Facebook should be done in a way that protects the user.  According to Nicole Haltses, Director of Recruitment at Merit Personnel, “Employers consider Facebook an employment tool, and inappropriate material could therefore be a red flag to them. I have experienced a situation where a candidate’s job offer was rescinded when the potential employer saw, and strongly disapproved of, what they perceived as a distasteful Facebook page. Use common sense when deciphering what personal information you want the world to see.”


Summary of Overall Findings

*College Student Profiles on Facebook:

Facebook Levels of Appropriateness


76% of all Facebook profiles were judged inappropriate

and may cost a student a job opportunity!


Facebook Feature

% Inappropriate

1. Status Updates


2. Primary Photo


3.  Photo Sets


4. Organization Membership


5.   Event Attendance


6. Any Feature Among All

Five Features Combined






Tips for Facebook Users

on Protecting Their Image — Especially in Relation to Job Searches


Remove all material — particularly photos and status updates — that does not present you in a professional manner.

Check your security settings to confirm that no one other than your friends can access information that you prefer to keep private. Recheck these settings often because privacy policies at Facebook may change and impact your settings.

Search yourself on all major search engines (such as Google) to identify information about you that appears in the results.

Consider maintaining your Facebook pages under a name or nickname that you provide only to your friends and other people that you trust. This will make it more difficult for others to find you on Facebook unless you want to be found.

Arrange for a Google alert based on your name. You may find that others are posting material about you that you need to request be removed.

Ask your friends to remove photos of you that are a problem.



Kathleen Mullen

Brand New World Publishing

(646) 926-1562


Chapters 1 and 2 include many tips to leverage technology. We allocated a substantial amount of discussion to the use of the Internet and social networking. This area changes almost every day.

To keep you updated, we are posting links to articles that we have written or that others have written concerning technology and social networking. Please click on the links below to read the articles we think will help you in your job search.

1. Is Your Online Identity Spoiling Your Chances? By Phyllis Korkki, The New York Times

Phyllis Korkki is a well known and respected writer and journalist. She often reports on career related matters. In this article, she quotes experts such as Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, a career management business in New York, Lewis Maltby, founder of the National Workrights Institute, an advocacy group, Michael Fertik, founder and chief executive of ReputationDefender and Mike Aitken, director of government affairs at the Society for Human Resource Management. They provide great insight into how to prevent a presence on a social media site from ruining your chances with an employer.

Here is the link:


To identify the names and contact information of the key managers, there is useful information on many websites.  A former student developed what he refers to as the Job Search Hail Mary. Aspects of it are described in the book. He uses sites such as Monster, Career Builder, Experience, and others to identify the existence of jobs that interest him. He then uses a variety of websites, including Jigsaw, Zoominfo, and LinkedIn to identify names of people and their contact information. Finally, he prepares communications directed to the people he seeks to reach. You will find a description of his process by clicking on the link below.

Hail Mary Job Search Example