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Looking for a Job? Clean Up Your Facebook!

Photo Illustration by Chris Jackson/Getty Images

You’ve probably heard the stories about teachers, police officers and other professionals who got fired because of objectionable photos or commentary on Facebook. So, you set your profile to “Friends Only,” thinking it’ll keep your stuff safe from people you don’t know. But guess again — there’s a new tactic employers are using to pry into your personal life.

If you’re looking for work, you know the job market is pretty competitive, and interviews can be few and far between. So, when you get the call, it’s exciting — you review interviewing tips, you dress your best, you make sure you get there early. The interview goes well — one of the best interviews you’ve ever had. But then, the interviewer asks you to login to Facebook so he or she can look at your entire profile — including the stuff you usually only share with approved friends.

Is this really happening? BusinessWeek says it happened in Virginia, the Associated Press reported an instance in New York, and you might have read here on about a Michigan woman who  was recently fired for refusing to give bosses access to her Facebook account.

Is this legal? While there’s talk of legislation to ban the practice, such requests are only banned in two states right now — and New York isn’t one of them. calls it the digital equivalent of asking for your house keys and bugging your home with hidden cameras.

That site says interviewers are most-likely to take a gander at your social networking profiles when you apply for jobs with colleges, police departments, correctional facilities, 911 dispatch centers and other public agencies.

Would you hand over your password, or would you walk away from the interviewer? If the job is “too good to pass up,” it’s a good idea to review your profile and weed out any status updates or photos which might irk an employer.  In that case, it’s better to err on the conservative side.

— Peter Naughton, Lite 98.7 WLZW

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