Facebook: The New Curriculum Vitae
Do you know who's looking at your Facebook profile? Have you updated your settings to make details and pictures private to everyone except your Facebook friends? These things could be necessary because you might have a Facebook stalker.
I don't mean the creepy guy in your chem lab that searched out your profile because he found your full name on the class registrar. Or the sexy chic in the next cubical that you've had your eye on for some time but don't have the nads to approach – and it turns out she's secretly crushing on you too (wait... what?). And I'm not talking about your best friend who systematically comments on every single picture and status you post with a witty retort or a mortifying story of how you made-the-fool at your last social outing.
No, I'm speaking of your current or potential employer making a judgment call on your viability and the future of your career based upon that previous social outing.
Alright. Now things are getting sort of serious.
Nobody Cares About Work History and Skill Sets
Okay, so that might be a bit of a stretch, but there's no denying where things are headed. That's right, friends, the resume you worked tirelessly to get to just one page (after all, etiquette requires it) is somewhat worthless in this competitive work force. At best, it's certainly becoming obsolete.
Don't believe me? Alright, take Union Square Ventures, a venture-capital firm in New York, as an example. In January of 2012 the company started looking for an investment analyst. Forgoing resumes all together, applicants were required to submit links to their online presence and a video explaining why they were interested in the job. The company was looking for something that provided more depth into who a candidate was – what they were like to work with and how they think. Resumes, according to an associate at the firm, don't do that.
A bumper sticker company in Colorado, StickerGiant.com, uses an online survey to screen potential employees, under the same premise. IGN Entertainment, Inc. offered programming courses for gamers that have little experience in the field. Candidates were required to respond to a series of challenges through IGN's website to determine their thought processes.
Err... Isn't That What's an Interview is for?
Alright, so a resume doesn't divulge much about someone's personality, likability and drive. I'll grant you that, but isn't that what an interview's for? After all, don't resumes weed people out too, by providing information on experience and skills? Then, once you find the resumes you like, you sit down and have a chat with that person – one-on-one time is a great way to feel out a someone's character.
Ah, but who wants to take the time to conduct interviews these days? Especially with so many companies hiring freelance in order to save on overhead. I write for companies all over the nation, for goodness sake – I'm certainly not paying to fly somewhere for an interview, and I doubt someone interested in my writing skills is going to foot the bill either – an online survey or perusing my Facebook profile is much easier.
Where Does the Stalking Stop?
Okay, so big deal, a potential employer wants to see your Facebook profile, but you're already smart enough to have it set to private and she can't see a darn thing, right? Guess again. The Associated Press reported last month that more potential employers are requesting passwords for a candidate's Facebook account in order to have full access.
Uh, excuse me?
Talk about invasion of privacy! Don't believe for a moment that you're alone in your outrage, because Facebook is right there with you. But what can you do about it – especially if you desperately need the job and they require access to your user profile to even consider you for the position? It's a catch-22, particularly if your potential employer looks at the photo album on your profile labeled "Mardi Gras 2011." Yikes.
What's an Applicant to do?
Well, of course, there's the option to take a stand and keep your personal profile off limits for professional means. It's risky if a potential job is on the line.
Another option is to actually create a separate social media profile using a secondary email address and only friend your well-behaved friends and family members, posting statuses and photos with professional discretion in mind. That's the profile you share with potential employers. It's probably also a good idea to create a LinkedIn account, since the purpose is focused on professional use and it gives you the opportunity to create an online resume. Heck, maybe you could create a blog just for sharing with potential employers, writing on all those things you have 'expertise' in – basically, as a means of tooting your own horn. Regardless, you've got to watch your back online these days, because you never know who your potential stalkers are.
So, with this new found information (after all, your current employer could already be your Facebook friend – with ulterior motives), who's heading to their profile to do a little spring cleaning?