Business Coach Column by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) from the Manila Bulletin
For many of us, Facebook (or Friendster, Twitter, MySpace for some) is a way to connect with relatives, classmates, colleagues, and friends. It is so much fun hang around this site because you can post whatever you like, whenever you like.
Facebook has proven to have so many advantages, especially since it is easier to find people you want to see again or find groups you want to join. It has improved communication a lot, especially for those who are separated by a long distance.
However, several disadvantages are also presented by the use of Facebook. Some accept all people as friends, even when they are just mere acquaintances. For others, it has clearly become a platform for pestering people.
While it is amusing to post anything in your wall, make sure you write sensible or tasteful remarks, as anything you post can be read worldwide or show up in almost all search engines.
As this is the case, most hiring officers not only read resumes, but also Google their applicants to see anything that would help them in making decisions as they recruit. Yes, this includes prying into your social networking account. It is where the boss may evaluate your real personality (your postings may suggest whether you are friendly, classy, or outgoing; or the opposite, unfriendly, cheap, or unsociable).
If currently employed, you may also find it annoying to know your bosses / managers snooping into your account. Yet, believe me, it is common for them to monitor their employees every now and then, to see what they are doing at work, or even after office hours.
Be on your guard. Whatever you post in your social networking site may affect your employment. Here are tips to avoid joblessness:
• Never post that you are looking for a new job! Your boss may read this, and this may result in him or her losing trust in you.
• Do not post nasty comments, nor use your account to spread rumors about your boss, clients, or co-workers. This may get you terminated. Also never post negative sentiments about your work. These are better said in the office and not in the cyberworld. Freedom of expression is a right, but being irresponsible can make you lose your job.
• Always check your spelling and grammar. If a prospective employer found you writing jejemon style in your account, this would definitely lessen your chances of being employed.
• Never take a picture of you holding a grenade or gun (even if fake), and post it on your site. Also never post picture of you overly drunk, nor racy photos that may eventually be used against you.
• If you have to phone in sick because you went to, or just came from a party, do not get caught by posting pictures dated during the day you were absent. You can’t control what others will post though, especially if they tag you.
• Never post anything that may imply that you may be unfit for your job. Never share that you are currently taking anti-depressant pills, mood stabilizers, or medicines for your tics and spasms. Also avoid statements that could be interpreted to mean you have suicidal or homicidal tendencies.
• Never access your accounts during work hours. You might get caught. Sometimes there is no protocol that you must not open your accounts during work time, but it is common sense that companies value work time.
• Avoid posting company secrets: a grand product launch that’s still under wraps, a new marketing strategy, or a deal with a big client, and so on.
• Remove friends who refuse to take out unflattering pictures or comments the she/he posted about you.
• If you can’t not have a Facebook account, have two accounts: one for your professional network and the other for your personal life. Not that you have anything to hide but there are some things that you may prefer to keep to yourself. Despite all these, there may be some comments or pictures that may be misinterpreted by those who do not know the context. Still, even in your private account all the precautions mentioned should be observed.
• Study your privacy settings and be sure only the right people can see personal or sensitive information. To be certain, view your site from a friend’s account to see what is visible. Try checking too from differing points of view like friends of friends, etc.
You may value your privacy, but surely you will find it hard to ignore a friend request from your boss! So as an advice, always think before you post. Avoid possible problems in your job, by appearing smart in your social networking sites. Even if your boss is not in your contacts, it is possible that someone s/he knows may be in your network. Remember, your boss is always watching you!
Be responsible with your posts as this may cost you your job. Your online reputation will influence your real world contacts. However, if you cannot safeguard your account, better skip social media altogether. Always keep in your mind, “If it is online, it is not private”.
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