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Drunk GroupI recently shared suggestions on managing and enhancing your professional image online. But, I found this post interesting: “Recruiters shouldn’t care about that Facebook picture of your beer pong game in college” by Shel Holtz.

My opinion is that even though they probably shouldn’t care, and while we would hope that they wouldn’t care, some of them probably do. What you post on Facebook and other social networks helps create your image online. How do you want to be perceived by recruiters?

First impressions are very important.

Heather Huhman, a hiring manager and founder of Come Recommended, said poor first impressions through social media can negatively affect her opinion on candidates.

“For me personally, I dislike foul language more than drunk photos. I think that’s far more unprofessional than crazy photos because I realize that college kids do party,” Huhman said.

In a field such as public relations, how you communicate is key in your career. Huhman also warns of sharing extremely private information, such as information about your sex life.

“Again, it goes to the professionalism of the candidate. First impressions are one-shot deals,” she said.

Huhman mentors students and recent grads about many things, including build a professional image online. I work with Huhman and her company Come Recommended. Come Recommended is an exclusive online community, connecting intern and entry-level job candidates to employers. Both the employers and the candidates must “come recommended” by having at least three recommendations before they can access the community. Sites like these can help build your image positively.

Filter for the sake of your career.

Some people won’t care about what you say and do online. But, do you want to take that chance?

I suggest you filter some things online. Foul language and excessive personal information (example: sex life) should probably not be discussed. If you’re already well-known in your career, like Penelope Trunk, you might be able to get away with it.

But, if you aren’t famous and you’re just starting your career, you may want to be more careful. I’ve had potential employers e-mail me about my blog, supervisors read my blog and coworkers add me as a friend on Facebook.

You never know who is reading your posts or viewing your photos. Show your personality, but filter out the things that portray you negatively.


  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rachel M. Esterline , Liz Kelley. Liz Kelley said: RT @heatherhuhman Facebook Counts as a First Impression to Recruiters, by @rachelesterline: http://bit.ly/28vt7L [...]

  2. I think it is a two-way road. On one hand, employees shouldn’t solely base hiring someone on what our Facebook profiles say. Social media sites are a place to express who you are and communicate with others. If we start adapting them to be employer-friendly, then they are just going to be like online dating profiles, fake and meaningless. However, common sense would say that you don’t want your entire profile to depict you as the college party girl or show pictures/comments that you wouldn’t want to be remembered as. So I agree with your comment, filter something’s but still show your personality.

  3. Great points, Katie. I agree that common sense is the best way to use social media. Thanks for the comment!

  4. I agree. It is extremely important for students to build a brand through social media, especially for PR students. Social media is a PR responsibility at a great deal of corporations. This means that a lot of practitioners will have active social media accounts.

    I enjoy building my personal brand through social media accounts because I see it as practice. Once I graduate in May, I hope to utilize these skills in the profession.

  5. Kion,

    Thanks for your input. It’s very true that this is good practice for your career.

  6. You make a great point!

    “My opinion is that even though they probably shouldn’t care, and while we would hope that they wouldn’t care, some of them probably do.”

    Furthermore, as young professionals, WE should care! I’ve had to do my share of untagging and deleting after my first few years of college and I must say, even if my organization doesn’t care about my beer pong talent, that’s not something I would ever feel comfortable talking to my boss about. We just had a guest speaker discuss “Business Netiquette” in our class this morning, so I especially love this post! :)

  7. [...] Facebook Counts As A First Impression to Recruiters [...]

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Rachel M. Esterline works in public relations and marketing communications. Her blog, ExPRessions, contains her musings about PR, marketing, career and professional development, Gen Y issues, personal branding and more. Rachel also does freelance consulting and writing. She is originally from Genesee, Mich., and will graduate from Central Michigan University in May 2010.