Late last year social networking site Facebook announced some big changes to their site including the addition of a new feature – Timeline. At first it was voluntary but now the feature looks set to become mandatory. But with many critics proclaiming that it ‘erodes privacy’ what will it mean for jobseekers and could it damage the job hunting process?
What Is Timeline?
Timeline enables you to list your entire journey on Facebook – from the day you created your account to the present. People can click through your timeline and see specific dates, even by clicking on a year. It’s like a social online diary of your life. Pictures, comments and friendships from the past can be easily accessed and Facebook’s creator, Mark Zuckerberg, said he wanted to ‘tell the whole story of your life on a single page.’
A recent survey of 4, 000 Facebook users suggests only 8% are happy with the introduction of Timeline. But is it really that big a change and how will it affect jobseekers?
- Any past work blogs or writing that you have done can be seen at the click of a button. This makes it easier for an employer to flick through your career history and access examples of work. This could really help to boost your career portfolio.
- Any work history is easy to see including old employers. If there are links to their websites an interviewer can click through and learn more about the companies you have worked for. It almost becomes like an online CV.
- Photos and travelling can really show off your social side. Believe it or not many employers like to get an insight into candidates’ social life as this can reveal what they are like in the work place and how they will fit in with a working environment.
- If you have any hobbies or interests that you have been consistently writing about online it will show an employer your creative side and will show that you have longevity with projects.
- Old inappropriate photos can be easily accessed – ones you might have forgotten about a long time ago!
- Comments between friends can be seen including if you have ever talked negatively about an old employer…
- Your relationships become transparent. Users can click on your friendships and see photos, comments and conversations. So your privacy is compromised.
- A recruiter will be able to see how often you are online by clicking back through the years. If you’re constantly on Facebook during work hours they might have some questions.
Although it’s proven that many recruiters use Facebook as a form of vetting candidates, remember that the site still has its privacy settings intact so you can control who sees what. The Timeline information is already available – albeit slightly harder to access at the moment. So although there are some definite changes, jobseekers shouldn’t be too wary.