The internet is aflutter with reactions to the new Facebook Graph Search, rolled out this month at Facebook headquarters (if you haven’t yet, get in line for a Graph Search beta invite). Graph Search takes all the information Facebook users have supplied to their public profile, and allows you to filter by interest, work history, location and so on. You can set up some pretty hyper-targeted queries – “friends of my friends who like surfing and road trips in Oregon” – and while that makes the feature tremendously powerful, it also opens the door for some scary privacy implications. (Entrenched citizens of Facebook, stop me if you’ve heard this one before.)
It’s a nifty, versatile tool that leverages Facebook’s uniquely massive database of user information to unearth new connections. While there’s lots of talk that Graph Search will disrupt the online dating industry (with good reason), we think it will make similar waves in the job search space.
Let’s look at it from both sides – how it will help companies source new candidates, and how it can expedite your job search. We’ll also help you tweak your privacy settings to broadcast your employment credentials while hiding sensitive information.
How Recruiters Will Source Candidates With Graph Search
Graph Search opened up a rabbit hole for candidate sourcing that is as deep as recruiters are clever. Currently, LinkedIn is every recruiter’s stomping grounds: it hosts the work history of 200 million professionals, and the advanced search capabilities to pick through them with ease. Facebook doesn’t have the professional focus, but it does have a whopping 1 billion users. Recruiters will be forced to add Graph Search to the arsenal (at least the smart ones will), because they won’t find those candidates anywhere else.
Here’s how a recruiter might use Graph Search to hunt down local graphic designer candidates.
Let’s look at a more targeted example. Say we need a developer, and we want the cream of the crop. We’ll tell Facebook to search for “friends of Google employees” – because that demographic probably hangs out with other talented, motivated, like-minded people. We include two more filters: the keyword “developer,” and the employment year 2008 (to set a 5 year experience threshold). Here we go:
If you’re a recruiter looking for candidates, you see the value in mining these results. If you’re a jobseeker looking for work, you probably see the value of showing up in these results. On the other hand, most recruiters already screen candidates through Google and LinkedIn, and you can bet the same critical eye will turn toward Graph Search results.
What this all means: it’s time for another pass on your privacy settings, to publicly broadcast your employment history, while protecting sensitive information. We’ll walk you through the necessary changes.
Optimize Your Facebook Profile for Graph Search
Facebook allows you to fill out your Work History, but it’s a little bit buried with the recent design changes. Click “Update Info” just underneath your cover photo on the right side of the page. Your work history may be outdated, or maybe it’s blank:
To remedy that, visit your LinkedIn profile. (Don’t have one? We’ve got a fantastic guide to get you set up.)
Copy there. Paste here:
Assuming your LinkedIn profile is keyword-optimized to show up in search results, you should receive similar benefits in Graph Search. Tinker with your descriptions all you like, but there are two insanely important things you need to do or else all the previous work is for naught.
1. Make sure your Work and Education section is public. Graph Search respects privacy settings, and if your entire profile is friends-only due to previous privacy scares (which mine was), you won’t show up in search results until you make this section public. So go ahead and click that world icon and choose “Public.”
2. Click “Done Editing.” (Before you do, marvel at my amazing MS Paint arrow.)
Great! Now anyone can search your work credentials through Graph Search. The last step is to make sure they don’t find anything else you want them to find.
The Extra Mile
Now that you’ve copied your resume over to Facebook, it’s time to strip your profile of potentially incriminating material, so you don’t lose an offer before it ever graces your inbox. We recommend reading up on the red flags recruiters look for on your profiles. (Total shock to me, by the way: poor spelling and grammar is more damning than your infamous college drinking pics. Who knew?)
Then, click the gear icon under your cover photo and select “View As…”
…and make sure you’re viewing your profile as Public, so you can review which information you’re making available to Graph Search. From here, go over all your information with a fine-toothed comb, and pull down anything (pictures, NSFW status updates, embarassing old Likes) you don’t want leaking into your professional life. In addition, you can supplement your profile with extra skills or qualities that might give you a leg up – list foreign languages you know, or declare an interest in the field you want to break into.
Once again, when you have everything sorted out, make sure you click “Done Editing.” As soon as you do, you’re totally Graph Search optimized – your work history and special talents are broadcast for all to see, while your private interactions are on lockdown.
From here, just leave it to work its magic while you focus your job search efforts elsewhere. Once recruiters find Facebook Graph Search, they’ll start finding you as well.