It’s now pretty much an automatic and generally an accepted given today that potential employers will check out your online presence as part of your job interview. They will Google your name, the city you live in and go as far as matching your photo. They may come across your Twitter account or read your LinkedIn and Facebook profile.
Most who are looking for a job realize that a well-constructed LinkedIn profile can act as the perfect resume while solidifying career-related connections and industry related networking. It will showcase your talents, aptitude and your particular skills more than what an actual job interview can.
Twitter can also provide ways of communicating with any potential employer, so don’t bother making tweets with a… “Hey wassup, me needz a job now,” but rather construct your tweets which demonstrates knowledge of your profession or provide links to interesting articles or related research.
What Twitter and LinkedIn gives you is complete and absolute control of how you want to project your professional persona. You’re able to completely dictate and portray exactly what you want on your profiles.
On your Twitter account for instance, you can just write professional occupation related tweets only, and not what you think of your cat. LinkedIn is a professional social networking site geared towards business which is intended for developing your professional image and your online work related presence.
But Then There’s Facebook
Oh right, that Facebook site, which famously began as a social networking site primarily geared for college students to friend with each other. Soon after, the entire online world was invited to join and now generations of Internet users are using it.
As Facebook exploded in popularity, any individual member is able to create their own Facebook profile or “Page” based on their professional and personal endeavors. But the virtual thin line between leisure and projecting a professional image is extremely blurry.
Although Facebook does offer a variety of personal privacy settings, which in theory protects the users from revealing too much information to the wrong people, there’s a lot of ways on how things can go potentially wrong. For one, the privacy settings isn’t as easy as just limiting your posts just so “friends” could read them, and then assume that you’re safe.
After all, everyone, whether you know them or not, is a “friend” on Facebook. So what you’ll need to do is further fine tune the categories of friends on your list.
What this means is creating additional special subgroups, such as “professional contacts” for instance, or a category for “close friends and family,” and then making sure that you post specific information for that group.
Even if you do control all your own posts, you’ll still have those pesky or unknown “friends” who might decide to “tag” you in their posts or photos, which may just happen to be a tad controversial.
Also, your friends may have their settings a lot more liberal than yours, which can potentially expose all of the posts that you’ve made to a wider audience that you don’t know or ever intended.
Finally, while this can depend on your Facebook settings, your known and unknown “friends” can also download or share your photos without you knowing the instant that you post them. Even if you decide to remove that not so flattering photo later, Facebook may have already captured it.
The majority of these issues on Facebook can be controlled however, but of course, at some point Facebook may lose its novelty appeal. If you’re spending too much time strategizing as well as checking your privacy settings on Facebook, then you may need to rethink how you use it.
So, as with anything, try to keep it simple. Begin by not accepting any professional contacts as your friends. Or, if you do decide to do so, make sure that you monitor your privacy settings so that those professional contacts will not read your personal posts. But this isn’t what most people generally do.
So What To Do With Facebook
So when using Facebook, make sure that you’re ultra careful and be aware what others are doing. Avoid posting absolutely everything personal which could potentially threaten your current or any other future employment opportunities. You never really know who may be… “ahem” stalking you.
So keep it as simple and straight forward as possible. Attempt to create a professional Facebook profile page and make it exclusive to just blog posts. Make sure you minimize your photos and just answer questions from those “friends” who may have “Liked” your page. Never post anything personal or revealing on that “professional” site.
Also make sure that you tweak your security settings, especially on your personal profile, and make it as tight and bland as possible, limiting almost everything exclusively to your known friends only. Be careful about what you post as well as what you “Like.” Make sure that the information which you can control is as limited as possible.
Provide Limited Information
You can avoid any potential damage on your career by completely boring yourself down to all of your professional friends when it comes to your likes and dislikes and your hobbies.
If one of your hobbies is playing piano for instance, and the majority of your personal Facebook friends are musicians as well, then all of your professional friends are then also regularly “treated” and exposed to your YouTube posts of obscure piano pieces which you’re wanting to learn. So perhaps, your leisure piano postings may be just impeding your career.
The biggest message is just be smart, safe and aware. Know that everything you post online is seldom ever private and can easily go viral. There’s a chance that a friend today can easily be a coworker tomorrow, who may just know a little too much about you.