Sharing is the name of the game whether you find you spend your time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or any other means where you can spread the word about what you are up to. It’s not that privacy should be your main concern I think the Internet has taken care of that. But when it comes to knowing who is looking, reading and digesting all the juicy tid-bits about your life do you really know your audience?
When it comes to embarking on your job search it’s wise to do a forensic audit of your life. I don’t mean just clear out the cobwebs on your resume or LinkedIn profile but really dig in deep when it comes to what you post out to the world. You may think it’s cute to show vacation shots on FB but how many of your “friends” are part of your professional network? If you tend to make benign postings of your kids, pets and grandparents, fine but make sure you audit anything that could be potentially controversial. It was not too long ago where you could keep certain things about your life private. There is nothing private about anyone or anything any longer unless you truly live “off the grid.”
If you can’t hide your personal life from the world my advice is to make it as harmless and as “vanilla” as possible when you are looking for your “friends” to become your potential boss in the near future. It’s not so much that your background or reference checks may lead to a scan of your social media pages, but you should be wise about your choices in posting anything that could potentially raise a red flag to anyone you may be looking to impress. Yes, posting that you hate your job or that you work for an idiot is a no brainer, but make sure you refrain from political debates, arguments or positions that could fly directly in the face of what you might be after. It’s not that freedom of speech is dead, but editing and positioning your message is just as important as how you show up for an interview or how well you present yourself in general.
Knowing your audience means you should address your statements, opinions, pictures and posts in a way that you are not embarrassed if ANYONE sees it. Making wise choices about your image means you are aware of how you come across and are confident to know when something may be too much or crossing the line. You are your biggest advocate when it comes to positioning yourself in a positive way. If you are looking to impress, make sure everything in your now very public life supports that image. What might appear funny and humorous to your close circle of friends might not be so to your professional network.
Assuming everyone “understands” where you are coming from also can hurt you if you are not thoughtful about what you showcase as part of your life story. Knowing that anything you put out there is up for grabs in a positive or negative way should make you pause and think twice the next time you are about to hit “share.”
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