Nearly everyone you know has a Facebook. Even your parents and grandparents are jumping on the Facebook bandwagon (whether you like it or not!), so it should come as no surprise that potential employers are harnessing the power of social media to make crucial decisions regarding your future. It’s not just your resume doing the talking anymore; many employers are now looking to Facebook to help them pick the right candidates for the jobs that they need to fill.

According to a recent survey of HR professionals, 79% of employers search for online information about job applicants. 70% of those HR professionals also say that they have rejected a candidate based on the things that they saw online. So hide those Vegas pictures of you gallivanting around with the strippers, tigers, and illicit drugs — it’s time for an image makeover.

Things that potential employers do not want to see:
-Pictures showing you drinking, doing drugs of any kind, or of you clearly intoxicated
-Posts or comments talking about drinking and/or drugs (even in the form of a joke)
-Negative comments about a previous or current employer
-Pictures or comments about you engaging in something illegal (even if it’s egging your professor’s car)
-Excessive use of profanity

It’s mainly common sense — basically anything that you would not want your mom, dad or nana to see should be removed. Untag yourself in any unflattering pictures or posts. And if you have any friends that are known for getting tag-happy with pictures after a night out, you may want to have a talk with them about leaving you out from now on.

Make sure you never badmouth a former employer. I don’t care if your boss was a bigger idiot than Colin Farrell in “Horrible Bosses” — never put them down where everyone can see it. Keep your personal feelings and opinions to yourself and sugarcoat your previous experience. You don’t need to be ridiculously over the top; clearly it was not all sunshine and rainbows because you are in the market for a new job. But make sure you put a positive spin on the situation.

“I’m so grateful that I had that experience” … “I learned so much there.” Statements like this will show your maturity and will prove to potential employers that you can be trusted.

Things that potential employers do want to see:
-Creativity
-Good communication skills
-Well-roundedness
-Maturity
-Resume matching the one you presented them with

There is a lot of good that can come from a potential employer viewing your Facebook profile. First make sure you utilize the work history section in the “About Me” part of your profile. Be sure that it matches up with your professional resume.

The way you communicate can also help you land a job. Be aware of spelling and grammar rules. This comes back to one of my biggest pet peeves: I hate when an intelligent person can speak well and clearly, yet the second they start to type, they shorten every word, forget what punctuations are and spell words wrong just because it looks cooler. I’m sorry, but talkin like dis aint gonna get u a job.

Using Facebook to highlight your hobbies and accomplishments can also show that you are a well-rounded individual. So if you go to school, work, volunteer, tutor, babysit, play a sport or an instrument or anything else that is legal and not frowned upon, be sure to put that front and center in the form of pictures and statuses.

If this sounds like too much for you or you aren’t interested in cleaning up your Facebook, then be sure to make your profile completely private. Select the “Friends Only” option for everything under the security tab. This will at least protect your profile from being seen by unwanted web visitors. But remember — anything you put on the Internet can come back to haunt you.