As one that commutes 40+ minutes to and from work each day, I tend to spend a good bit of time on my social networks. For me, it’s Facebook and LinkedIn. I’m “somewhat” conscientious on what I’m posting as to not offend anyone but yet not bore everyone as well. What strikes me is the amount of folks who use these sites without a filter between their fingers and brain. It’s not just the people I’ve worked with, but family and friends too. The things people say and the pictures they post is crazy. Come on, the last thing a 15 year old needs is their parents digging into their Facebook account only to find pictures of them doing things we did, but never bragged about (at least not for the world to see). Same holds true for coworkers. It’s not the negative posts about their job (this would never occur), but the weekend shenanigans. Sure what you do on your own time is, well, your own time but are you sure you want present and future employers seeing this?
People tend to think that I they lock down their privacy settings so only friends can see their “stuff”, their safe-wrong! This whole six degrees of separation thing really holds true on the social networks. Someone who knows someone will be able to see your profile pages and learn what you’ve been up to. At the same time, when you start a new job and become friends with your coworkers, you’ll now be exposing this out to the world.
Social networks aren’t simply about sharing photos of your kids eating pudding without their hands or sharing your life experiences, but equally about your career too. Ensuring that your profile pages are up to date and you’re constantly networking are some of the keys to success here. It’s important that people know what you do well and what areas you have expertise in. Recruiters are using sites like LinkedIn more now than ever and with good reason. They can quickly gain access to loads of data about a specific skill set their looking to fill in seconds. They can make connections through a 1st degree contact to gain access to 2nd and 3rd degree contacts and form a bond almost instantly.
So we should all take a minute, review what you’ve posted in the last month or so and remove what we don’t want the world to see. Ensure your friends respect when to tag you and when not to. If you’re not sure how a message will be perceived, then post the message privately (always air on the side of caution here). I know many won’t take my advice and that’s just fine, I’ll enjoy watching what you do and laughing at what you say.
Managing Director, Search