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How Facebook Timeline Could Influence Your Next Interview

Employers will check your social networks to learn what they can about you.

Facebook rocked the social networking world with a number of major announcements at the F8 developer conference, but the biggest of them all is the Facebook Timeline. The Timeline is a significant departure from the traditional Facebook Profile page, and the information on it may influence your ability to get a job.

The Facebook Timeline, combined with other changes unveiled at F8, may result in a little TMI (too much information) being shared. The new Facebook makes it easier to share the book you're reading, the movie you're watching, the song you're listening to, the meal you're cooking, and other information with your social network in real-time.

The concept seems to have tremendous potential to help you actually be more social with your social network. The problem is that prospective employers will be checking out your Facebook Timeline as well, so you need to devote some effort to making sure it paints the portrait of you that you want others to see.

When your current profile is converted to a Timeline it might reveal pictures, events, and status updates from your past that you forgot about--and perhaps some you wish you could forget. Facebook will be automagically going through your Facebook existence to extract relevant bits to populate your Timeline.

If you've been using Facebook for a while, there's no telling what sorts of smoking guns and skeletons in the closet might be revealed. Thankfully, Facebook gives you an opportunity to identify the information you want to promote on the Timeline, and to hide or delete entries you'd rather not have exposed to the world.

The information displayed on the Timeline will have the same privacy controls and restrictions as the same information currently has on your Facebook Profile and Wall. You can choose to allow some elements to be viewable by the general public, while limiting other entries to just family and close friends.

Employers routinely check the social networks of applicants as part of due diligence during the hiring process. If you are using the Facebook security and privacy controls effectively, prospective hiring managers won't be able to see much--if anything--unless you actually add them to your Facebook social network. But, if you're not careful you might expose facts and events that could influence whether or not you get the job.

If done right, the Facebook Timeline can be a glowing tribute to your life and accomplishments. It can be a sort of living résumé that lets prospective employers learn about the type of person you are. If done wrong, your Facebook Timeline could be a minefield of embarrassing bombshells that reflect poorly on you as a candidate for employment.

The Timeline is scheduled to roll out on September 30. The longer you've been using Facebook, the longer and more detailed your Timeline will be--consequently, it will also require more time and effort to organize and clean it up. It will be well worth the effort, though, to make sure your Facebook Timeline tells your story the way you want it to be told.


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