On Facebook? How to Protect Your Reputation

By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

Are you revealing more than you should on one of the most popular online social networking sites? Facebook has become so much a part of how we stay connected that some of us are forgetting that those connections often extend well beyond our anticipated audience.

For example:

1. Employers research you through a friend of a friend. Now, more than ever, employers use Facebook to form opinions about those who work for them and those they’re considering for employment. And for a vast majority of Facebook users, these employers don’t need a password to find out what they want to know. Usually, all they need to know is a mutual friend.

My full article can be found at U.S. News & World Report, here: 5 Tricks to Keep Facebook From Hurting Your Job Search.

8 Responses to “On Facebook? How to Protect Your Reputation”

  1. Kathy Bitschenauer says:

    Jacqui, I am curious…where did you get the information for this statement, “And for a vast majority of Facebook users, these employers don’t need a password to find out what they want to know. Usually, all they need to know is a mutual friend.”

    It’s scary stuff when employers can find you so easily just by tapping a friend for a “look see” on a person’s social media pages.

    • Master Resume Writer says:

      Hi Kathy,

      In order to see how this works, take a look in one of your own friends’ profiles and click on one of “their” friends’ profiles. Generally speaking, most folks’ privacy settings aren’t that secure and their posts are pretty public.

      So, an employer may just happen upon a prospective or current employee’s profile through random connections.

      It’s that ‘six degrees of separation’ type idea.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Marianna says:


    Great tips, many of which are transferable to any social media endeavour.

    Do you know if employers also judge the candidate by the company they keep? Not only what that “company” says to and about you, but what they show in their own timelines?

  3. Hi Marianna,
    I’m glad you liked the tips, and thanks for indicating that many can be transferable to other social sites (great point!).

    In regard to employers judging the candidate by the company they keep, I would imagine that might factor in a bit, perhaps as a secondary level of ‘insight’ they may glean.

    This is an Interesting thought, Marianna – while some on Facebook are very selective about with whom they connect; others, (like me), though somewhat selective, are more open to connecting with folks whose belief systems (politically, religiously, etc.) may diverge.

    That said, I would think that if one were concerned about what others’ posts on others’ walls/timelines may infer about them (by way of association), they should consider not just the topics being posted, but as importantly, the tone and language being used. Connecting with people who consistently are foul mouthed, disrespectful to others, etc., I would imagine has the potential for tainting ones’ reputation (by association).

    Thanks for chiming in and spurring additional thoughts on the subject! As usual, thoughtful insights and additional discussion points.


    • Marianna says:

      Not being on Facebook, I only learn about the goings-on by what I read.

      On Twitter, I always check out the person before I follow. Like you, I accept divergent ideologies. I am looking for interaction and respectful communication. Similar to what you recommend for Facebook.

  4. Kim says:


    This article was great! I found it first through US News and backtracked to your blog. I’m hoping to cite this article in a workshop for university students on the importance of a professional social media presence. Do you have any other sources you suggest I research to include?


  5. Master Resume Writer says:

    Hi Kim,
    Thanks for your kind words! … and for backtracking to our blog : )

    You might also check out http://www.glassdoor.com/blog/social-media/, http://www.glassdoor.com/blog/include-linkedin-profile/ or http://www.glassdoor.com/blog/writing-linkedin-profile-resume/, and perhaps search around for other posts on the Glassdoor blog using the words social media, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

    I hope these help, and good luck with your workshop!


  6. Booktup says:

    I’ve had a Facebook since Jr High, (new graduate) i’ve mostly been able to avoid most of the pitfalls. I appreciate the advice on how to further protect my privacy as well as my reputation.

Leave a Reply