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We hear nowadays that companies increasingly use social media e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc. to check out job applicants.

As someone who does not use any social network (exception: Stack Exchange :-)) how would it be seen if I added to my resume a "you won't find me on Facebook" icon (like the one on Richard Stallman's homepage)?

How would this be seen by employers? Is this unprofessional? Would it reduce my employability?

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    I quote Stallman's site simply as an example, not necessarily because I agree with his stance. – Alex Barber Mar 26 at 21:04
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    And what would be the point/your argument to include this? – guest Mar 26 at 22:38
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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Lilienthal Mar 27 at 19:19

13 Answers 13

188

What exactly would be the point of that?

It makes it look like you have something to hide. If you don’t have Facebook, what is the value of drawing attention to that?

Others may be different, but I would see that and spend extra time Googling you as it would make me suspicious.

A sticker/icon is usually out of place on a resume anyway.

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107

Your resume is your sales tool. It's a 1-2 page summary of everything that's good or impressive about you that means an employer may want to hire you.

Everything that goes on that resume should be examined in light of the above. So unless you seriously think you're applying to an organisation who would view the fact you don't have Facebook extremely positively, it's not something that should go on the CV.

In this case, I would say it is much more likely to have a net negative impact with most employers. If I saw that, my initial impression might be you're someone who has a bit of a stubborn attitude, and who takes pride in going against the flow. Taking that further, that could give the impression that you'd be difficult to work with.

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    What do you do when someone else with the same name, but without a profile picture, posts Bad Stuff(TM) that certainly will make the recruiter pass the opportunity with a generic "Thank you for your time but we are not a match for each other". – Gizmo Mar 27 at 8:23
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    @Gizmo That sounds like a separate question. – berry120 Mar 27 at 9:33
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    @Gizmo Solved problem, you establish your own FB presence (you don't have to actually use it for anything personal), with something that clearly identifies it as you, and enough positive/neutral content that the recruiters will be pleased. This is the same tactic used by people who have same-name stuff pop up in other search engines (or even their own old stuff that they want to bury!). – user3067860 Mar 27 at 12:51
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    @PeterM It doesn't need to be proven, it just needs to be likely enough that recruiters won't automatically assume that you're that other bad person and immediately dismiss you. Include some location that recruiters would know and maybe a few posts about your field, that kind of thing. – user3067860 Mar 27 at 13:41
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    @PeterM No--they just need to not assume that the bad person IS you. There needs to be enough doubt that they don't immediately dismiss you. After you're in the door, you can convince them that you're not nuts by not being nuts. (And it doesn't even have to be all recruiters, as long as enough recruiters aren't throwing out you're resume so that you can get a decent job.) – user3067860 Mar 27 at 15:45
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"10 years experience with blahblahblah. Also, I'm not a bank robber."

If you're not on social media then don't mention it at all. If it comes up then simply say "I'm not on social media."

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  • I would amend that to just say "Don't mention social media at all". It has no place either way on a resume, unless you are applying for some sort of social media specialist position – Kevin Mar 27 at 16:01
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    This. I've always been on social media, and I've never put it on my CV, and I've never been asked about it at interview. For my job it's completely irrelevant – Asteroids With Wings Mar 27 at 16:40
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    Are you also asbestos free? xkcd.com/641 – Mad Physicist Mar 27 at 19:54
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    @MadPhysicist also this twitter.com/shutupmikeginn/status/403359911481839617 – Alex M Mar 27 at 21:02
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How would this be seen by employers?

Somewhere between quirky and outright negatively. Neither is good when you're trying to find a new job.

Is this unprofessional?

Yes. What's unprofessional isn't the type of statement you're making. It's that you're making one at all. It's just Not Done. The only message a resume should convey is how you are the right person for the job. When you're adding additional messages whether they're political, activist or something else, it makes me wonder why.

The most likely reasons I'll think of are that you're weirdly out of sync with conventional professional norms, have strange priorities, might have boundary issues in a workplace context, or would just generally be difficult to work with. In a competitive field, any of these will eighty-six your application.

Hiring managers very often go through dozens of resumes for a single position. Anything that deviates from typical resume standards makes you stand out. But any attention isn't good attention here! If some studies are to be believed, during an initial screen your resume might be looked at for less than ten seconds. I imagine yours would be looked at longer but not to read through your experience and achievements.

Note how how none of the above relates to the actual statement you'd be making. But that can also limit you even further. Your example of pushing back against social media will often make people think you're behind the times for instance. But political or cultural statements can be equally problematic and divisive.

Ultimately, as mentioned in the other answers, you have nothing to gain with this and a lot to lose. Don't include this.


If your aim is to filter out employers whose values contradict with yours: this is a bad way to do it. You have plenty of ways to check for cultural fit in an interview that don't jeopardise your chances of actually being interviewed.

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  • And what if the recruiter passes because they found someone else, without a profile picture, posting Bad Stuff(TM). The candidate has no defense because they will receive a generic "Thank you for your time, but we are not a right fit for each other". Recruiters are people, not machines, they make assumptions. – Gizmo Mar 27 at 8:21
  • On this being a bad way to filter on their values, I would agree. I think someone not having a Facebook account is fine. But having a weird sticker on your resume, especially one that says "Not F'd" makes you sound like you're an asshole who is saying "you are F'd if you have a Facebook". Even without the profanity I think you said it best -- "Somewhere between quirky and outright negatively". – Captain Man Mar 27 at 14:41
  • @Gizmo I guess the question is, do you really want to work with somebody who jumps to conclusions, then? – VLAZ Mar 28 at 18:28
  • @Gizmo with such a statement you don't even get to the level where they would look you up in Facebook. And if they are so bone headed to throw you out because someone with the same name did stupid shit on Facebook without confirming that properly then a statement that you're supposedly not on facebook might not deter them from doing so either - just in case you're spewing shit on facebook and lying that you don't. The approach might be justified when the chances you're mistaken are very high and very serious which they normally are not - and even then there are often better approaches. – Frank Hopkins Mar 29 at 13:57
  • @FrankHopkins I think it all depends how one presents the statement. There have beem a few good proposals here in this question. Dealing with a recruiter and their methods, in my experience, doesn't really reflect the company(ies) they represent. But that's just personal experience / anecdotal evidence. Take it with a grain of salt. – Gizmo Mar 30 at 7:15
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I have read the other answers, and while I can agree it's unprofessional to have it on a CV, I can understand why someone would put that somewhere. Other answers seem to miss the point and assume:

  • "I'm better than you"
  • "I wouldn't want such a person on my team" - why?
  • etc.

Yet, there can be legitimate concerns when people with the same name and without a profile picture, on Facebook, can be found.

  • Recruiters *do* and *will* check the candidate on Facebook. Every answer shames mentioning that a person is not on Facebook, but they don't shame the real reason that causes this - Recruiters using Facebook.
  • The recruiter *will* find someone with the same name
  • The recruiter *will* assume it's you.
  • Bad Stuff(TM) posted by another person with the same name WILL reflect badly on YOU.
  • You have no way of defending yourself after this happens, because:
  • A recruiter won't let you know they passed because of some Facebook post. They might just thank you for your time and end the contact, without you knowing why.

Answers saying you have nothing to gain - I absolutely cannot agree.

Maybe the CV is not the right place, and maybe it would also help to not be passive aggressive.

My suggestion would be to put a line on LinkedIn, your website, or wherever your CV is available (again, not in your CV):

Dear recruiters, I don't have Facebook. Please check out my hobbies at x, y and z if interested.

This way you give them the information they are seeking:

  • Show your social activities ("hey I'm in a swimming sport club, check out these photos on club page")
  • Potentially show your hobbies ("Oh I built this embedded piece of electronic software in my spare time", this can help if looking for a job in this field)

It seems recruiters want to know that, although that's none of their business in my opinion, what hobbies I have should not influence my professional career. Yet, it does happen and that's a fact. Maybe they are looking for connection on a personal level, not just a business level (would be my guess).

Another suggestion is (but that misses the point): Create a Facebook account with your name, and your LinkedIn photo. That's it. Put nothing more on there - That's public info anyways (Facebook can scrap it from LinkedIn). This way, a person can refrain from mentioning "they don't have Facebook", and will avoid potential misunderstandings.

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    "the recruiter will assume it's you" - that seems quite far fetched. – user2390246 Mar 27 at 9:02
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    Maybe it is, maybe it's not. There's nothing wrong with assuming the worst case and preparing for that. – Gizmo Mar 27 at 9:03
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    I'm totally fine being rejected by a company where HR employees assume someone with the same name as mine is me. Saves a lot of trouble in the long run. – Dmitry Grigoryev Mar 27 at 9:35
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    Really good points, but creating a blank profile on FB implies that consent is given for FB to use your data, which may be the whole point of not having a FB account. I agree that the no-FB disclaimer shouldn't be on a resume, but putting it somewhere online (that can be found by someone searching for you) is a great suggestion. – einonm Mar 27 at 10:03
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    @DmitryGrigoryev: Maybe you, but there are also a lot of single mothers without education (not flexible in time and place) who are desperate for a job. I would not call this alone anred flag for them – guest Mar 27 at 10:14
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This linked picture is definitely a bad idea. But if you are worried they might mistake some other profile for you, you could expand your contact information like:

Phone: xxx-xxxx-xxx
email: lala@la.com
LinkedIn: blabla
github: blabla
StackExchange: lala
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: Not available/No account./None

The important part is not to single Facebook out and not to comment in any way, just make it part of your contact information. This section might also be a little strange if you don't have any work-relevant "social" networks, but chances are you want to point to your LinkedIn/github account anyway.

Note that not all of my phrase suggestions strictly imply you don't have an account - it's possible you have one and just don't want it listed there.

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In a similar spirit to @Nobody's answer, at the maximum I would suggest something like

"Please note that profiles with my exact name exist on [social media]. Those are not mine."

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  • It's a given that there will be other people with the same name as you on the internet. I just google'd my name and apparently I'm an economist in the UK, or an event coordinator in Canada. Neither of which is me. And that was just on the first page of results. – Peter M Mar 27 at 13:44
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    @PeterM It's likely for most people, but it's not a given. It's definitely not a given that there will be many people with your exact name. – BSMP Mar 27 at 16:56
  • @PeterM OP wants to convey exactly this information. I'm just suggesting a better way than his extreme way of phrasing it. – FooBar Mar 27 at 20:44
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Not using Facebook is fine. So is having children, not having children, donating blood, voting for Obama, being gay, preferring cats to dogs, etc. etc.

All those statements are appropriate on a bumper sticker or a t-short you wear to a party. They will for sure look out of place on a resumé. Especially if they are phrased in a charged way: even if you write it as "not f'd", everyone speaking proper English will read it right.

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  • @goblin Fixed. IMO the real difference between those cases is that nobody thinks that Stallman should be convinced to use Facebook using pills / electroshock. At least for now that is. – Dmitry Grigoryev Mar 27 at 9:52
  • Well I for one thought the answer was more fun and intellectually playful before the edit. On the other hand, I guess the change will avert potential future conflict, which arguably is good. But on yet the other hand, the question has to be asked: is it actually good to side with the incessant harassment the contemporary PC crowd brings to bear against those who partially disagree with part of their point of view? Arguably it's better to court low-levels of conflict now, when the stakes are low. That's my opinion, anyway. – goblin Mar 27 at 9:58
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    @goblin I try to make my point clear and avoid distractions if possible. Discussing whether a particular position in life is a choice or not is exactly a distraction. – Dmitry Grigoryev Mar 27 at 10:26
  • Being gay is not a "position", please rephrase. – Nemo Mar 29 at 17:52
  • @Nemo You forgot to suggest an alternative. – Dmitry Grigoryev Mar 29 at 19:45
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Firstly, bravo for not getting caught up in the oftentimes self-destructive world of social media, with its long list of promises (it'll make you more connected, happier etc.) and its long list of actual results (higher stress levels, lower self-esteem, less time for meaningful relationships due to more time spent courting superficial ones, etc.) The usual YMMV disclaimer: some people use social media more effectively than others, blah blah.

Secondly, always keep in mind that a good deal of human preferences and behaviour come from self-enhancement bias; in particular, we dislike everything that claims, directly or indirectly, that we're lesser. So if you're suggesting to recruiters that you're somehow better than them, that's not good.

Thirdly, always keep in mind that recruiters want a team player. If you're able to get a rapport going with others, that's attractive. If you're some weirdo with a superiority complex, that's unattractive. But if you're a likeable weirdo who comes off as a team player, that's probably okay, and in some contexts it will even work a little bit in your favour.

Fourth, the ideals reflected by Stallman are supposed to make not using Facebook a common and acceptable thing, by specifying that you don't use it, you make its use the default.

My specific advice is to leave this off your CV (because you don't want to come off as weird) and if you're asked about it, have an easy-to-relate-to thing to say about it. "Well, I used Facebook for awhile. It was great for organising events. Made it very easy to get the boys over for a BBQ. The chat was also a very good feature. But like many people, I was really turned off by the superficiality of it all. I guess in the end I just found better tools for connecting with others; Skype, even the humble email. Honestly, nothing beats a good face-to-face."

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This is a terrible idea.

I once read the CV of someone who put a similar "bumper sticker" (as Dmitry nicely put it in another answer). My immediate reaction was "he is immature".

I am a human and unfortunately for that person this was my thought during the whole time I read his CV. This also meant that he started with -10 points when he was interviewed.

I do not expect applicants to put links to their social media on their CV

  • if they do it means that there must be something extraordinary there
  • if they write that they do not use [whatever], that's a political statement (which I may like or not).

Really, this is a very bad idea.

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I agree with existing answers that having the logo on your resume is inappropriate. How much it matters will vary but it's likely to be seen as unprofessional in most cases.

However, there are good places to relay this information:

  • A personal web site as suggested by Gizmo.
  • Your cover letter.
  • The "Additional information" field in an online application.
  • In person or over the phone with the recruiter.
  • In person or over the phone with HR when they tell you that they've reached the point of doing a background check.

If you only have a general concern about mistaken identity:

  • If you're doing it in writing, use Nobody's format. Treat it as straight-forward contact information.
  • Other than the web site, only do it once. Don't put in your cover letter and elsewhere in an online application and tell HR. There's no reason to make it a big deal if there isn't a specific problem.

If there is a specific user that can be mistaken for you:

  • Be explicit about this on your personal web site (if you're using one). "I can be found at X, Y, and Z. The [name] on Facebook is not my account."

  • Be explicit about this if/when explaining it to someone directly.

  • Don't be explicit about this in your cover letter. Still treat it like contact information if you include it. That's not the right place to get into this issue.

  • If you're being defamed or if the other user is posting something extreme like illegal activity or hate speech, then always tell HR even if you already mentioned it. This is a big deal so it's OK to seem concerned about this by bringing it up a second time.

My personal experience with this is as a person who had the same full name as only one other person online. We had other demographic traits in common and small enough online presences that it'd be reasonable to assume it was all the same person. It was sufficient for me to be explicit on my web site about which accounts were mine and which were not.

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  • I upvoted. Why the downvote? – guest Mar 27 at 18:33
  • @guest I assume the down vote is from someone who thinks mistaken identity isn’t a problem but it could be that they simply take issue with some of the specific steps. – BSMP Mar 27 at 19:58
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I just have a different view here.

Customize your resume to include that or leave that out according to company or organization you are applying for.

For example, organizations like ACLU, EFF, FSF, DuckDuckGo, Wikimedia, etc. Leaving it there is a huge plus point. They will think that you take privacy seriously and have a reason to do so. I have many friends who doesn't have any social media presence and still make a living in the software industry.

For most other organization, explicitly mentioning it will create doubts, like will you refuse to work on any projects due to your strong views and such that. So, you can leave it from there. You can answer simply without going into details if asked.

If they explicitly ask for social media information for data collection, you know that it won't be a company you want to work for.

I use a different, unofficial name for all my social media accounts to partly fix the issue and I don't reveal that in any official capacity.

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  • Re "create doubts": Few will understand that (as intended) outside of India. Perhaps change it to fit an international audience? – Peter Mortensen Mar 30 at 4:29
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If you are applying for a job that requires a security clearance, this would actually be a plus. Not having Facebook significantly reduces your exposure to an investigation.

A security background investigation will go through your facebook, and your facebook contacts. In particular, the investigators will ask questions about foreign contacts. I was in a Facebook group with people with my same (German) last name. I had several friends from Germany, Austria, and Czechia. Even though I never met them, I was asked to do a disclosure about these people in my security investigation.

The easier solution was simply to remove Facebook. That was ~2006 and I haven't been on social media since, excepting LinkedIn. Even then, when at non-clearance jobs I've had to be sure not add connections with (especially Chinese) foreign co-workers, so long as I plan on retaining a clearance in the future.

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  • Could you expand why adding this sentence would be a plus instead of just not being on FB? Have you experience with this approach? – guest Mar 29 at 21:33

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