Checking an applicant’s Facebook profile has become a common practice of employers, but this could place older professionals at risk of age discrimination. From photos to statuses, the content you post on Facebook could signal your age to employers, consequently affecting hiring decisions. Here are eight things on Facebook that older professionals should watch out for during their job search.
1. Photos That Age You
While the need to avoid inappropriate photos on your Facebook profile is common knowledge, older professionals also need to watch out for photos that speak too much to their age. Old, scanned photos are generally fine. On the other hand, pictures of your older children and grandchildren featured prominently on your profile might send employers the message that you’re beyond your best working years, even if that’s not true.
2. Age-Hinting Terms and Expressions
Go over you Facebook timeline, and look for terms that younger people are less likely to use, such as “retirement” and “grandchildren.” You should also watch out for any outdated terms for politically sensitive subjects.
3. Sharing of Medical Issues
Many Facebook users share details of their illnesses, injuries and other medical issues on their timelines, but older professionals have to be extra cautious. Too many mentions of medical problems may make a potential employer think twice about hiring you. This is especially true for those traditionally seen as age-related conditions, such as arthritis.
4. Sharing of Old Accomplishments
While experience and accomplishments from past decades are interesting for friends, to employers, they can make your skills seem outdated. Only list recent experiences no more than a decade old when completing your profile.
5. Statements That Show an Unwillingness to Change
Check your Facebook timeline for any statements that show a resistance to change, such as mentioning that new graduates in your industry aren’t what they use to be. Instead, use language and positive statements that embrace change to show employers you’re flexible and open-minded.
6. Statuses That Hint at a Resistance to Advancing Technology
Avoid writing statuses or sharing posts that signal to employers you aren’t on track with new technology. This could include statements about how overly complicated a new device or software is.
7. Lack of Involvement in Online Networking
Employers want candidates who are digitally savvy, especially when it comes to the internet. Older workers should make an extra effort to join Facebook groups in their industry or expertise.
8. Making Statements About Having Less Energy
Older professionals are already working against an unconscious bias from most potential employers. Avoid any statements that may confirm the bias that older workers may not be up to the job, such as complaining of a lack of energy.
Age discrimination is far from legal, but potential employers may still harbor an unconscious bias in favor of younger workers. Older professionals can fight this by tailoring their Facebook profiles to help employers focus less on age and more on their skills and abilities.
This article first appeared in beyond