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We all know that LinkedIn is for work, and Facebook is for fun, right?

In truth, lines are often blurred. Employers can (and do) find out a lot about you from Facebook, and that can affect your current or future employability.

In a 2013 survey by Jobvite, 93 percent of recruiters reported reviewing candidates’ social profiles during the hiring process.

Whether you’re looking for a new job, or are interested in staying at your current position, it’s important to take a few steps to ensure that everything out there is in line with the image you wish to project.

1. Keep it clean. Remember that employers want to make sure that your values align with theirs. In the aforementioned Jobvite survey,42 percent of recruiters said they have reconsidered a candidate based on content from his or her social profile – the biggest offenders were references to illegal drug use, posts of a sexual nature and the use of profanity. Take down anything that does not show you in the best possible light.

2. Take stock of what an employer or recruiter can see. Do this little exercise regularly: log out of your Facebook account, and then type your Facebook URL into the address bar. Are you all right with everything that shows up?

3. Use your privacy settings, but understand their limitations. One of the most common myths about Facebook is that only your friends will see what you post when you set your page to ‘private.’

Think about this: what happens if a friend of yours has a public page, takes a screen shot of your post and shares it on her page?  That’s right – your ‘private’ rant about your manager is suddenly out there for everyone to see. Which brings us to…

4. Don’t complain about work in social media. Really, don’t. Save that one for off-site, personal conversations. Larger hospitals or health groups often have a social media specialist whose job it is to monitor online conversations. Your comments can show up on their radar. Smaller organizations can use any number of tools to do the same kind of monitoring.

5. Make sure your profile picture is good. Even if the rest of your page is on lockdown, anybody can see your profile picture. It doesn’t need to be a professional, head-and-shoulders shot, but it should make you look respectable and responsible

6. Be selective about being tagged. Do you really want to be tagged in that photo from that trip to Vegas? Set up an approval process so you have to review every photo that someone wants to tag you in. But remember – even if you don’t approve the photo for your timeline, it will still be visible on the poster’s timeline, unless you ask them to take it down.  

7. Keep your private life and your professional life separate. Don’t friend your co-workers, and don’t accept a friend request from your boss. Instead, connect with these folks on LinkedIn. It also goes without saying that you should never, ever post about your patients, which puts you at risk for a HIPAA violation. Read more about HIPAA, nurses and Facebook.

What other tips would you give? Leave your comments in the space below.

These guidelines are for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. 



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