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Research says Facebook profile pics can affect your job prospects

With more people communicating via social media networks like Facebook, employers have hit the jackpot when it comes to finding out exactly who they want to keep on board and who seems to be more social than employable. From Facebook photos to the way employers manage their personal messages, the Internet has changed the face of employment in the world.

When Facebook made it known that they weren’t going to tolerate any fake names on the site, many people had to rethink their accounts. Using fake names was one way to avoid letting employers or potential employers see what their employees were doing. However, it isn’t the names that people really had to worry about, as much as it was their pictures.

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According to The Telegraph, research conducted at Ghent University in Belgium revealed that potential employees with the same qualifications spanning two different levels of education had a 40 percent better chance of being hired if their Facebook profile picture featured an applicant fully clothed. Those who were not smiling were less likely to land the first interview even when dressed in business casual clothing.

The trend of employers looking more to social media to conduct any kind of human resource assessment doesn’t stop with profile pictures. A recent court ruling in Europe determined that European employers now have the right to read private messages sent by employees during business hours. It doesn’t stop at Facebook messages but includes all messaging and Web mail systems.

Further, it’s claimed that some employers even ask for passwords to employees’ or potential employees’ Facebook accounts. Because of this reliance on Facebook, the general public is looking for ways to lead a public professional and personal life, without the two causing damage to each other.

The solution may be as easy as creating two profiles. Facebook has recently granted some leniency on the name issue, so making a personal Facebook profile as well as a professional one isn’t as difficult. The next step is to do what people should really be doing in the first place: leave business at the office and personal lives at home.