February 19, 2017 1:00 pm

Facebook’s new jobs application feature may mean you need to clean up your profile

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In its early days, social media behemoth Facebook was the go-to place for displaying embarrassing drinking photos for your friends to see (and judge). But the site’s latest feature – job applications – is a definite sign that the network has grown from its indiscreet beginnings.

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The new feature makes it easy for job seekers to search and apply for jobs, which could be incentive to clean up a profile, add some job history and round out your personal page with a few clean, crisp family photos.

READ MORE: Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to rescue those ‘left behind by globalization’

The postings have already begun to proliferate the site, and are easy to find either in the newsfeed, in a business’s jobs tab, and alongside other posts on a business page, a representative from the company says.

When the job hopeful clicks ‘apply now’, a form will open that’s pre-populated with information from their public profile on Facebook, according to the company. And, yes, Facebook confirmed it is possible to modify an application before hitting submit, to make it more professional.

“People and businesses have already been using Facebook to find and fill jobs, so we’re rolling out new features allowing job posting and application directly on Facebook to help people find jobs, and connect businesses with the right candidates easier,” a Facebook representative said.

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Those applications then land in the business’s messenger inbox, allowing page admins to curate applications and reach out to prospects via Facebook messenger.

“We’re taking the work out of hiring by enabling job applications directly on Facebook. It’s early days but we’re excited to see how people use this simple tool to get the job they want and for businesses to get the help they need,” said Andrew (Boz) Bosworth, Facebook’s vice-president of business and platform.

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But LinkedIn has this covered

For those looking to further their career or make connections in their field, LinkedIn has already carved out this role as far as networking sites are concerned. And as one employment and social media lawyer points out, users may want to keep it that way.

“Employees, already struggling to keep up with ever-changing privacy settings, may not wish to have their Facebook profiles, high school musings and prom photos form part of their CV and visible to recruiters,” Kevin Poulter, a partner at U.K. law firm Child & Child, wrote in an email.

READ MORE: Facebook launches ‘Workplace’ – a social network for your office

As Poulter notes, LinkedIn has slowly been encroaching into the personal content realm by offering features and content that are similar to those existing on Facebook, although it is still career-related at its core. For Facebook to take on recruiting seems to go against the boundaries that some employers and employees have already put in place, he says.

“Of course, Facebook will have researched this and its domination of our lives continues, but just as Google has seen a backlash for gathering too much data from its users, Facebook too could be susceptible to criticism,” Poulter said via email.

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About that line between personal and professional

So what happens to freedom of expression? Will people be more apprehensive to share thoughts, in fear it will hinder their chances of landing an interview?

Marsha Forde, human resources director at Workopolis, doesn’t see it as a game-changer for job seekers. She says employers already check up on potential candidates on social media and sees this as a welcome update that, if anything, will encourage people to mind their manners online.

In its early stages, there are already many businesses taking advantage of this latest feature. Whether this update will spur users to filter their profane language and delete those party pictures remains to be seen.

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