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by Lisa Grimaldi | March 01, 2010

Before posting photos of your wild night out on Facebook or tweeting about your boss from hell, think again. Increasingly, firms are using social media to research potential employees. According to a recent poll by human resources firm CareerBuilder, 35 percent of HR executives found content on social networking sites -- provocative photos, posts on drinking or drug use -- that caused them not to hire a candidate. However, another 18 percent found signs of creativity, communication skills, etc., that encouraged them to make an offer. What's appropriate to post? Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder, offers the following advice.

Check your settings.
Use the "block comments" feature or set your profile to "private" so only designated friends can view it.

Don't gripe.
Keep the content of your posts positive for both professional or personal information; e.g., don't rant about your ex-wife.

Clean it up.
Before you begin a job search, remove any photos, content or links that might work against you in an employer's eyes.

Choose friends wisely.
Remember that others can see your list of friends.

Be discreet.
Don't mention your job search if you're still employed.