Yahoo! News recently featured a piece on "6 Career-Killing Facebook Mistakes," covering a range of issues on how potential employees should craft their Facebook profiles considering the far-reaching investigative techniques used by employers. As a graduate student soon to enter the workforce, this is a warning bell I've heard often from friends as well as my parents. You name it and I've heard it. My wondering whether Canadian "dirty talk" involves Canadians rattling off factoids about Wayne Gretzky's NHL career during the throes of passion "isn't funny." Stating that FDR is my favorite president, and then pondering whether giving him a standing ovation would have offended him, "isn't going to get me a job." Of course it isn't -- I can't network with FDR. He isn't around anymore.
All of the things listed above are on my Facebook page, and all are in jest. But my jesting should be a source of concern, experts say. One of the first "career-killing-mistakes," according to the Yahoo! article, is inappropriate pictures. They report that employers "don't want to see pictures of you chugging a bottle of wine or dressed up for a night at the bar" and that the threshold for which pictures are appropriate should be based on "pictures you wouldn't want your grandparents to see." Well, it's a good thing employers don't want to see people chugging a bottle of wine while being dressed up, because I sip my bottle of wine (with pinky finger extended, of course) in only my boxers. If the police officers arresting me thought it was funny, why shouldn't any potential employer?
Another critical error listed by Yahoo! was described as "losing by association." It warns that future employees should be mindful of the friends we keep, as employers "do judge...by the company (we) keep, at least to some extent." I was extremely offended by this criterion. I don't need Yahoo! or Facebook to tell me my friends are losers. I've known that longer than anyone, and their loserness is a major part of their charm. I personally find this element to be off-base. It's unfair to judge a person based on what their friends post on Facebook. However, I suppose the "losing by association" does ring true in some cases. My mom is friends with me on Facebook and she's said I've reflected poorly on her for years.
A person's Facebook page is an extension of their private life and shouldn't be considered when a job position is on the line. There is a stark contrast between a person's private life and their professional life, not to mention their ability to positively contribute to a company. Have those doing the hiring never held a beer with friends before in a photo? Do they not tell silly jokes to their friends in their private life? Perhaps writing posts like this one, when all I've done is tell a few punchlines for a laugh, will hurt my job prospects in the future. But come interview time, should an employer mention this post, I'll have a question of my own: "If you feel mentioning my private life during a job interview is relevant, which one of us is truly professional, and why should I consider working for an employer that can't tell the difference?"
Scott Janssen is a graduate-student, blogger, all-around drain on society, and apparently will never be hired by anyone.