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Online profiles just got more compromising

Half of Australian job seekers now have more of their history accessible to potential employers than ever, with the release of the Facebook Timeline feature late last year. The controversial Timeline feature was introduced to all Facebook accounts worldwide in the past month, including the 10.6 million Australian users. Employment Office Managing Director Tudor Marsden-Huggins [...]

Half of Australian job seekers now have more of their history accessible to potential employers than ever, with the release of the Facebook Timeline feature late last year.

The controversial Timeline feature was introduced to all Facebook accounts worldwide in the past month, including the 10.6 million Australian users. Employment Office Managing Director Tudor Marsden-Huggins says with the spike of job applications predicted for 2012, this is the time for all Facebook users to check their privacy settings.

“Protecting your privacy has always been an issue with social media, but now the Facebook Timeline feature makes it so much easier for employers to flick back through your photos and history from years past – it’s like your life is an online exhibition for anyone who wants to look at it.

“You can be sure that when you’re applying for jobs, a lot of employers already use sites like Google, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to see what they can discover.

“The thing about Facebook Timeline is that it makes your entire past on Facebook extremely accessible for anyone to see.  Even the best behaved person in the world is likely to have posts or photos which are great for friends, but could leave the wrong impression with potential bosses,” he said.

Facebook is the most widely used social networking site in Australia, with over 47% of the country signed up for an account. Marsden-Huggins says social networking is here to stay, so the way to protect your privacy isn’t necessarily by deleting your account, but by being smarter about what you display and how you protect your information.

“The teenagers of today have grown up in a world where they feel they haven’t really done something unless they’ve posted about it on Facebook. It’s a great tool for people getting to know you, but that’s the problem – nobody wants their prospective employer to make their hiring decision based on the fact they can access some areas of your personal life that you’d like to keep separate from work,” Marsden-Huggins said.

Marsden-Huggins recommends anyone applying for jobs go into their Facebook Privacy Settings, and set their Default Privacy to Friends only. Using the option to ‘Limit The Audience For Past Posts’ can also help ensure your past photos and online posts aren’t what employers will form their opinion around.