There are plenty of stupid things you can do on Facebook, but you perhaps wouldn’t expect being too private to be one of them. Think again. There are actually real downsides to locking down your Facebook profile. It can hurt you in a job search and affect the quality of the search results for your name. Here’s why.
Title photo by Ilya Andriyanov (Shutterstock).
Facebook can be a little scary when it comes to your privacy. It doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to respecting privacy, and we’ve all heard stories about how prospective employers have found embarrassing photos and information that led to problems in the hiring process.
When we hear about the downsides of sharing information publicly, our instincts turn to paranoia. We want jobs. We don’t want to be embarrassed. We want to survive online with our dignity intact. Those are all fine goals, but completely locking down your Facebook profile to achieve them is taking it too far. It can actually hurt you because you are not providing good information about yourself.
When You Post Nothing, Everyone Else Decides Who You Are
This is why you need to contribute public information. If you don’t, you’re providing no information about who you are. If you don’t post anything, everyone else determines what you look like to a stranger who searches for your name. In a job search, this can be pretty problematic. The first results can be embarrassing. If you share a name with someone else, his or her results may come up instead. You put yourself at risk by not contributing positive information about yourself.
The Solution: Publicly Post What You Want Others to See
This can be easier said than done. Facebook has some pretty intimidating privacy settings, but we explain them all here. Be sure to read that guide if you don’t know how to manage your privacy settings in a way that allows you to be selective about what is private and what you’ll let the world see. You can’t control everything about your online persona, but you still have more control than anyone else. Use it wisely.