Social Networking - Be Careful With What You Share

Social Networking - Be Careful With What You Share

Social networking has dramatically changed the world of business over the past decade.  As a student, it’s your job to understand the impact your social networking profile can have on your future career.  If you’re looking for a job, you should be aware Facebook may be your potential employer’s first stop.  Many employers will check out Facebook profiles as a way to prescreen their applicants before interviews.  Who can blame them? It’s usually a very accurate description of a person.  

While you’re in school taking business courses, you’ll have many face-to-face career fairs and networking opportunities, but you also have to do your part and watch what you’re putting online.  Don’t let a stupid comment or offensive photo ruin your chances at your dream job. 

Criticizing your company or boss
If you have a public profile, it’s not the place to rant about how much you can’t stand your boss or how much you hate your job.  They’re going to find out.  Also, if your profile is going to be in your professional realm, don’t post negative comments that are even slightly related to your job or company.  “I’m so bored at work,” or “I can’t wait until the weekend gets here,” are not the most complimentary statuses about your job, and they don’t make you look like an outstanding employee either. 

Inappropriate photos
If it’s not a photo you’d display on your desk for your boss to see, you probably don’t want it on your social network profile.  Photos of partying, drinking or wearing provocative clothing should be deleted, or better yet, not even posted.  You can set privacy settings for specific photo albums on Facebook if you want to keep certain ones private and others public.  Also, remember it’s never certain that something is truly “deleted.”  Once something is posted on the Internet, it’s most likely locked in cyberspace somewhere.  So think twice before you post a photo.  No one’s going to hire you after seeing your beer pong pictures.   

Watch what you post
You should also be mindful of what you say on social networking sites.  Your statuses should be positive and avoid offensive language as well as negative comments about your professional work.  Any interests you list or things you say about yourself should be reader-friendly.  If you’re going to have potential employers looking at your site it’s probably best not to post controversial or offensive views.  If you want your profile to focus specifically on your professional life, you should include interesting business books you’ve read or showcase your accomplishments at work.  

Don’t mix your personal and professional life
As you’re busy taking business courses in California, it’s a good time to start working on some professional social media practices.  Understand that it’s okay to have a personal Facebook profile, but if it’s not meant for professional use, keep it that way.  Don’t add coworkers or possible employers as friends, and change your privacy settings to the highest level of privacy you can. Never request or add someone you don’t know personally as a friend on Facebook. 

A better option is to not use Facebook for anything at all work related.  Instead, try out LinkedIn which allows you to keep your Facebook profile for your personal life.  You’ll also have more networking opportunities through LinkedIn, because it was designed specifically for professional use.