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Social Media for Job Search

What If An Employer Asks for My Facebook Password?

I was asked this question by a reporter at the AP. You can see the story here.

It's technically illegal for employers to ask -- as it's against Facebook's terms of service to share your passwords or login with someone else's information. But it's unlikely that an employer would be prosecuted since you are giving them permission to login to your account.

That said, in a job search -- if you want to get hired, I think it's important to look like you've nothing to hide. In general, you want to be friendly, approachable, and presentable.

Here's a two step process you can use to address the question:

  1. Ask what the employer's looking for when they look at Facebook. Don't ask "Why" as that may come across as aggressive. Instead say, "What will you be looking for?"
    In many cases, employers who have asked for Facebook login information have been law enforcement professionals -- looking for evidence of gang involvement or illegal opportunities.

    In others industries, employers may want to see your Facebook profile so that they can see how your out-of-work activities demonstrate what you want to do for work. Want to be an event manager? Do you help organize activities for your friends? In this case, your involvement can actually help you and work in your favor.

  2.  Politely sidestep the password access information issue by offering an alternative way for the employer to get the information.

    You could say for example, I'm very careful with my passwords -- and assume you'd want me to be careful with my company e-mail account if I come to work for you. How about I friend you -- or one of your colleagues instead -- and you can take a look around.

    (This then gives you the added bonus of time, you can go back in and clean up information if you need to.)

    Want more insight on what employers are looking for? Check out the advice I gave reporter Jennifer Doll when she gave me (temporary) permission to snoop around in her Facebook and Twitter accounts. This piece gives a full overview of my advice on what to include -- and what not to include online.

How Do I Get Started on LinkedIn?


After years of being asked to join LinkedIn, I've finally done it. Any suggestions on how to get started?  C. L.

Great question. As LinkedIn is a full service networking site, there are many ways to use it -- from making new professional connections through LinkedIn groups and Q &A discussions to finding jobs and requesting referrals.

If you're new to LinkedIn, the first thing you should do is make sure you've got an amazing profile that employers can find. Studies show that up to 86% of employers using social media to find candidates for jobs use LinkedIn so I recommend you have the best profile possible.

Bonus: LinkedIn is one of the 15 most accessed sites online as tracked by, so any information you post on the site and make public will help you be found by major search engines -- and prospective employers.

Here's a quick list of easy steps you can use to optimize LinkedIn that I created over at Let me know if you find this to be helpful -- and good luck!

Is it Better to Have Many Friends or a Few Good Ones?

My friend Jim and I are having an argument over networking? Jim says it's better to be an open networker on LinkedIn; I say it's better to follow LinkedIn's suggestion -- and only connect with people I know well. Which is the better strategy?

- K.L.

There's no right answer. It's up to your own level of comfort, and depends on what purpose you'd like to use your network for.

That said, my personal preference is to only connect with people who know you well. Why? If you get a job lead through a networking contact -- and they don't know you well...they cannot vouch for you.

It's not who you know that matters -- it is whether or not they are willing to speak up for you.

In my opinion, that's what matters most. "I recommend you for any job that you are qualified for," is a pretty weak reference. So Is "I don't know her."


To Know or Not To Know: Which is Better

This weekend, I spoke with a job seeker who -- three weeks ago -- applied for a job listing online for a job that he saw at Borders. He hadn't seen the closing signs, or the news coverage that Borders will be laying off over 10,000 employees nationwide. And even if he had, he knows that companies hire all the time -- even if they are laying off people in other departments.

My friend spent over an hour applying for the job, then dropped by last week to discover that they were closing within three days. There were no jobs to be had.

"I'm annoyed. I'm frustrated. But I'm glad I know now that I won't be hearing from them."

There are some aspects of the job search you can't control: It isn't always possible to know when a job is posted -- "for real" or when it's posted to comply with internal hiring policies or marketing plans of keeping up appearances.

That said, there are some tried and true -- as well as emerging and new -- ways that you can ensure you get better feedback on your applications. Wouldn't you rather know than sit and wait to hear? Here are three ways to do this:

1. Follow up.

I recently interviewed Google recruiter Jeff Moore, and learned that -- in his opinion -- one of the biggest mistakes that candidates for jobs at Google make is not following up and assuming that Google isn't interested. He cautioned, "Don’t take yourself out of the game." He also said he's frequently hired candidates who initially applied for a job he didn't hire them for the first time.

2. Get the inside scoop.

Use your social networks to figure out who you know inside the company, and -- if you've got a connection -- let them know you've applied. If not, don't be afraid to call the company, anyway. My friend Angela got several interviews simply by figuring out who the hiring manager was for positions, calling at night and leaving a voicemail with a two sentence summary of her skills and experience.

3. Sign up to get feedback. 

Since December, I've been working with StartWire, a free site that helps job seekers organize their job search -- and get feedback. One of the secrets not often shared when you apply for jobs, is that many companies actually provide you with updates on the status of your job application -- but you have to log back into the website where you applied for the job to get the feedback. StartWire checks this information automatically for you at over 2,600 companies when you tell them where you've applied.

Personally, I think it's better to know when you are in the running for a job -- or not -- then to sit and play the waiting game. You?