Thinking about joining Facebook’s new Talent.me application? This is FB’s move into the business networking arena, touted to be a way to “tap into the 750 million people on Facebook to advance your career” and “to get an inside connection to 3 million jobs.”

Before you do, learn a little about how it is different from LinkedIn, the business networking application that it is most like. Here are some highlights of my experience with Talent.me:

1.  BE CAUTIOUS BEFORE EDITING YOUR TALENT.ME PROFILE.

You can complete your Talent.me profile in one of two ways: manually, or by uploading your LinkedIn profile.

This is NOT LinkedIn, however. The Talent.me app requires more detailed information than does LinkedIn.  And when you edit your profile, you will find out how detailed. So read this before you even THINK about editing.

For example, the “Experience” section requires you to enter the month as well as the year of your employment, as well as the location of the job.  You’ll find this when you complete your profile manually.  If you upload your LinkedIn profile, you will not see the dates of your positions on your Talent.me profile.  If you want to keep your LinkedIn data as it appears on LinkedIn, simply leave your Talent.me profile as it is.  Because if you make ANY changes to an “Experience” entry, it will not save the changes until you also add in months and location.

I found this out when I decided I wanted my Talent.me profile to show the dates I was at various jobs. The Talent.me profile does not show the years you are at positions by default; you have to edit to have them show up.  When I clicked “edit” I went to a page with much more complete information, including the years. However, when I tried to “save changes,” I got the red-letter message that I had to “add dates and location.” So I was forced to add months and location.

If you can’t remember months, don’t edit that experience. Otherwise, employer background checks could yield different facts and you can jeopardize a job offer because of alleged (albeit unintentional) fraud. Be cautious.

I had a similar annoying experience with Education.  I attended graduate school for a year and didn’t continue. Yet the default display said I was in the “Class of 1981.” That gave the impression I graduated, so I decided to edit it. It required me to add a degree before it would save changes; luckily, it saved “none.”  I saw that I could check whether a school was high school, college or graduate school. So I did that for all my schools. Strangely, for high school, the Talent.me app required me to add a “concentration.” What??? We didn’t have concentrations in high school.  So I entered “AP” and it accepted that.

2.  CHANGE YOUR PHOTO SO YOUR DOG OR BABY ISN’T YOUR TALENT.ME AVATAR.

The default image for Talent.me is your current Facebook avatar. So unless you want to look ridiculous for potential employers, change your photo to the one you use on LinkedIn.

Don’t have a LinkedIn account or photo yet? Clearly, get one. The ideal professional photo is a head shot, with you face forward or at most 3/4 profile. Smile or people will think you are “Debbie or Doug Downer” and no one wants to invite a seemingly negative person to join their work “family.” A neutral background in a light shade is best, because your face and features will stand out. Wear what you would normally wear to a job interview.  Creative people can get away with a little more imaginative photos, but remember people want to see your face and who you are.

It’s easy enough to get a professional-looking photo and will take about 15 minutes.  (Well, women may take a little more time putting on makeup and styling hair.)  Have a family member or friend with a digital camera take several photos of you in front of a blank wall at your house. Choose the one you  like best and upload it to your Talent.me account. Save. You’re done.

3. DECIDE WHAT SKILLS YOU WANT TO HIGHLIGHT BEFORE YOU LIST THEM.

When you first sign up for Talent.me, it will ask you to list at least 3 skills, your level of proficiency, and the number of years you’ve used them. You can skip this step, yet your profile will not be complete without doing this.

LinkedIn is beta-testing this skills feature, but Talent.me is making it seem like a normal, even “must do” aspect of job search.  Be careful what you choose.  In my post “Are You A Rock Star?” I discuss the pros and cons of listing skills.  The level of proficiency you claim will probably determine the level of position for which you’ll be considered by recruiters.

This is a great time to consult with either a friend or colleague who really knows recruiting, or with a career coach who is familiar with the recruiting world.  You are so easily pigeonholed as suited for specific jobs. So be very careful about how what you say can be used either against or for you.

4.  CLEAN UP YOUR FACEBOOK PROFILE OR RESET YOUR PRIVACY SETTINGS.

At this time, there is no direct connection between someone’s Talent.me profile and their Facebook page.  The fact is that with your Facebook name being on this profile, people can then search for and find you on FB.

So make sure you have privacy settings in place that prevent you from being seen by anyone but friends. Or erase all those personal things from your FB account. Which sort of defeats the purpose of having a FB account. Sigh… In a job search, it is far better safe than sorry.

5.  CONNECTIONS ARE YOUR FACEBOOK CONNECTIONS, NOT YOUR TALENT.ME NETWORK.

When I look to the left panel on my Talent.me dashboard, I see that I have several hundred 1st and 2nd degree connections. This gives the impression that all these people are in my Talent.me network. NOT SO!! These are my Facebook connections and their friends.

I clicked on the two people who are in my Talent.me network. For each of them, I could see their network listed on that left side panel. And I could click on those people’s names and see their profiles.  If we had 1st or 2nd degree contacts in common, I could see those names on the 2nd degree contacts’ profile page.

To build my Talent.me network, I must send out invitations. I can send invitations to my entire Facebook friends list and my entire LinkedIn network. Or I can send only to certain people. I chose to send to everyone because I like to spread the word about new platforms and to have lots of people in my network. (More birthday wishes ;-D) Choose what you want to do.

There are many other differences between LinkedIn and Talent.me. To me, these are the most important for anyone beginning to use this new application.