Not Another Facebook Update!

When Facebook suddenly changed to timeline, there was widespread controversy. Some liked the double-picture spread. Others were concerned that the change would make it far too easy for viewers to access the early years of your Facebook history. And who wants their middle school pictures open to the public?

Now it’s not just Facebook that’s changing. LinkedIn has also recently altered its format to a new, more visually streamlined profile format. But before we hem and haw over social media changes, let’s take a look at the details. This format may just work to your advantage.

So what’s different? First thing you’ll probably notice is that your picture is much bigger. While the photo slot is still square-shaped, it will be all the more noticeable when viewers land on your page. As always, make sure it’s professional! Additionally, the layout of your information will no longer appear like a print resume converted online. In fact, it will read visually a bit like the Facebook “About” section. The logo of each company you have worked for will appear next to its title.  Each category of the profile (i.e. “Experience,” “Education,” or “Organizations”) will be headed in dark, all-capped font. And next to each heading will appear its own logo.

Second, to the right of your profile you’ll see something called “Profile Strength.” This is a measure visible only to you that will tell you how competitive your profile is on LinkedIn. While this measure is mostly based on completeness of your profile, there’s another way you can strengthen your profile with another new LinkedIn feature.

Now, at the top of your profile any viewer can see your activity feed—did you connect with a new person? Post a status? Update your photo? This feed is a good way to show your connections, what you’re up to, and the more you come up in the news feed the better. Aim for adding something to your profile about once a month.

Another key change is your new ability to “follow” thought leaders—a similar system to following on Twitter or subscribing on Facebook. Take a moment to research the top thinkers in your field. This feature will help keep you up-to-date and also help others learn a bit more about your interests and aspirations.

My overall impression is optimistic. Because of the easy on the eyes layout, people who view your profile will better be able to remember you. Sounds fair enough. See for yourself. For more information on building your best LinkedIn profile, visit Career Services social media page.

Will You Pass the Social Media Recruitment Test?

Think that what you post stays between you and your friends? Well, that’s not the case—employers may look for online infor­ma­tion about stu­dents as they apply for intern­ships and jobs. Recently, Career Ser­vices hosted “Do You Pass the Social Media Recruit­ment Test?” This event served as an intro­duc­tion to the ways stu­dents can use social media tools – among them Face­book, Twit­ter, and of course LinkedIn – in the job search and offered tips on how to man­age your online reputation. (Career Services offers similar events every semester, so watch their event calendar or the weekly CareerNews e-newsletter to see when the next one will be offered.)

The session began with the obvious question – what is the Internet saying about you? Stu­dents in attendance looked them­selves up on and other web­sites, and hap­pily none uncov­ered too much unsa­vory infor­ma­tion. Some found videos of them­selves, and the one post-doc present saw links to his research that he didn’t know existed. Kath­leen Mannheimer, Senior Asso­ciate Direc­tor of Career Ser­vices, who hosted the event, said stu­dents may be sur­prised what infor­ma­tion exists about them online and what employ­ers can eas­ily access. She sug­gested set­ting up Google alerts with your name so you can see what comes up in searches. She also sug­gested that when post­ing any­thing online, stu­dents should con­sider whether they would want to see that infor­ma­tion, photo, etc. printed in the news­pa­per. If you hap­pen to come across any­thing you would not want to see as pub­lic infor­ma­tion, has good tips how to remove infor­ma­tion from the Internet. Check out this infographic entitled, “The Google Yourself Challenge” to learn more.

The pre­sen­ta­tion then shifted to LinkedIn, the social media plat­form that was founded with the express pur­pose of busi­ness net­work­ing. Despite this, Mannheimer said employ­ers can use any social media plat­form, even Twitter and Pin­ter­est, to track and source candidates. Mannheimer showed one of LinkedIn’s educational videos on cre­at­ing a pro­fes­sional pro­file. Tips included upload­ing a business-like pic­ture and giv­ing an in-depth sum­mary of your experiences. LinkedIn has under­gone a num­ber of changes to be more applic­a­ble to stu­dents. “In the very early stages, it was primarily for expe­ri­enced pro­fes­sion­als,” Mannheimer said. A LinkedIn page now includes oppor­tu­ni­ties for stu­dent data such as GPA and rel­e­vant coursework.

Other fea­tures of LinkedIn include the abil­ity to search by com­pany or indus­try and to research a role model’s career path. Mannheimer sug­gested that stu­dents reach out to recent hires at their dream com­pa­nies and ask how they landed the job. She also dis­cussed that when reach­ing out to pro­fes­sion­als on LinkedIn, it is not the same as “friend request­ing” on Face­book. You should add a pro­fes­sional intro­duc­tion and mes­sage to your request for connection.

Face­book and Twit­ter can also be good sources for job infor­ma­tion. Com­pa­nies often have pages specif­i­cally devoted to recruit­ing on Face­book, and there are Twit­ter han­dles that exclu­sively post job open­ings, such as @TweetMyJobs.

Despite the increas­ing rel­e­vance of social media plat­forms in the job search, one stands out. “LinkedIn is going to be the most impor­tant for you right now,” Mannheimer said. Career Ser­vices staff can help you review your LinkedIn pro­file in the same way they offer resume cri­tiques. If you would like assis­tance, sched­ule an appointment.

On a final note, I sug­gest all stu­dents search their name on the Inter­net to see what infor­ma­tion turns up and review their social media pres­ence to find out what an employer might see. Now’s the time to “own” your online reputation!


Pinterest for Career Advice and Inspiration!

Fashion, food, art, books—and now career inspiration. For all the Pinterest fanatics out there, Career Services has started a Pinterest of its own with 8 different boards. Get the latest career info from interview tips and career advice to events and inspiration like this pin: “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do.” These words of wisdom from Steve Jobs are enough to get me through a hard week…maybe even through midterms week.

Another one of my favorite boards is “Social Media & YOU!” which has cool infographics about how to create a professional online presence, how to use social media in your job search, and how recruiters use social media to find information about candidates.

Following Career Services on Pinterest is a great option if you:

  • Want to be notified about the latest eventsAre looking for inspiration to re-pin to your friends
  • Want interesting, visual tips about how to make a solid impression in the interview or at the job fair
  • Are interested in what your peers are doing to jump-start their careers
  • Want to browse visuals about the latest on social media and recruiting

Check it out at


Facebook. Twitter. Jobs. Which one doesn’t belong? Believe it or not, none. Given the vast amount of time we college age students spend on social media sites, it’s no wonder employers increasingly turn to social media to research job applicants. For the average Princeton student it’s easy to dress spiffy and speak intelligently in an interview. But what about that other person you put out there for the world to see—the one before we get to the interview. In other words, Google Search yourself. Surprised, anyone?

Now most of us probably don’t know what our Facebooks look like to the average employer. In fact, most students are pretty sure their accounts are private. But are you sure? Do you really know those pictures from last night are not front-and-center on your profile? Probably, you don’t.

Here’s what to do. You can start by reading Facebook’s novel of a guide on Privacy Controls. Here’ the short story version: everyone can see what Facebook calls “public information,” including name profile picture, gender, username, user ID (account number), and your networks. In other words, one of the most important thing you can do is keep the profile picture professional.

UNLESS, that is, you Jason Bourne your profile. In other words, make yourself unsearchable. Under Privacy Settings, go to “How You Connect,” then “Who can look up your profile by name or contact info?” and select “Friends.” That way you won’t pop up when employers search for you. For all but the forward-thinking few who use Facebook to speak eloquently about current events, this is probably a good thing.

Just to complicate things a little more, there’s the new Timeline format. Don’t want employers seeing that “is O.M.G. Bobby is SOOOOO CUUUTTEE like lol” from 7th grade? Or the seven hundred status updates with a similarly test-infused lingo? You have two options. Either limit the visibility of the specific post (available through the pull-down tab in the status update’s top right corner) or, under Privacy Settings, go to “Limit the Audience for Past Posts,” and you’ll be able to limit your entire timeline to friends only.

But in case, like me, you’re already “friends” with potential employers, here’s the tricky part. With Facebook’s new settings, privacy is often a case-by-case basis, making it all the more complicated. So while you might list one Wall post as only available to “Close Friends,” another may be available to “Everyone.” This goes for everything from personal info to tagged photos. So it’s a good idea to customize your default settings so that all your statuses about Justin Bieber don’t immediately go public. (Guilty!)

Finally, the moment of truth: the best way to really see what your profile looks like to the average employer, use a non-friend account to check it out. For most of you, this means Mom and Dad. Or you could just go to privacy settings, click on “learn more,” click on “Profile” at the top, then go to the blue box near the bottom titled “know what others see on your profile. You may be quite surprised.

You can also, believe it or not, use social media to enhance your chance of getting a job. If you’re interested in a field where currency is key, join Twitter. It will help you get news in your field right when it happens. Start by following your favorite sources of news or your favorite academics. For instance, now that Cornel West is no longer on campus, catch his words of wisdom via Twitter. Then, don’t be afraid to join in the debates. If you have something intelligent to say, by all means, say it! Or, well, tweet it. This will not only keep you informed, but show employers that you’re an active participant in your prospective field already!

For more information about how to create an employer-friendly social media presence check out this article on YouTern with a really great info-graphic on the subject: