Why Job Seekers Shouldn't Whitewash Their Social Media Profiles

Looking for a job? Don't take all those party photos off your Facebook profile just yet. Although some photographic evidence will always be a bad idea (read: anything that could put you in jail) a little bit of color in your social media presence might actually help you get a job.

Forbes blogger Meghan Casserly tells a story about a friend who recently scored an internship at a recruiting firm. Instead of filing or making coffee, like we did at our internships in the olden days, Casserly's friend spends most of her time scouring the social media profiles of candidates for low- and mid-level financial and legal jobs.

The interesting thing is what her supervisors are hoping to find: not the absence of embarrassing photos, but the presence of snaps that show off the applicants' personalities.

At 21, Casserly says, her friend has "become the gate-keeper to employment for thousands of New Yorkers and I was surprised to hear about the barriers to entry. Wedding pictures? Great. Baby photos? Even better. Photos with friends at parties, beaches and concerts? An absolute must.

"'There's a sense that a profile with no character has probably been scraped of some racy stuff or else the person has no social skills and won't fit in.' Either way, she says, that candidate has been moved to the bottom of the pile."

The goal, says careers and social media expert Joshua Waldman, is to develop a "public private" persona, similar to that of a celebrity.

"Think about a TV or radio show host," he says. "They're talking about personal details of their lives in a very public way. These details are important because they make themselves seem accessible to listeners but they’re definitely not deep secrets or potentially embarrassing."

So don't strip your profiles of everything interesting. Just make sure they're not too interesting.

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(Photo Credit: _Max-B/Flickr)

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