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Have you given much thought to social media and your career? After reading about the lawsuit that’s been filed against LinkedIn, we started thinking about how social media has changed over the years and how online information can not only affect the recruiting process but also an employee's reputation once they're hired.

Put Your Best Foot Forward Online

Regardless of the privacy settings you use, the personal information you post through social media isn't necessarily private. And once it's out there, you can't take it back.

In all stages of the career lifecycle, from hiring to promotion to end of employment, strive to put your best foot forward. A negative social media presence can damage the respect of an employee in an instant.

Social Media and Recruiting: Think Before you Post

Court cases surrounding social media and the workplace are still being decided. New legislation is starting to be enacted, but as the social media world continues to evolve, so will the laws. 

According to CareerBuilder, 43 percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, up from 39 percent last year and 36 percent in 2012. Many disagree with this practice, but until the laws catch up, employers continue to use social media when recruiting candidates.

Many hiring managers search for their candidates online prior to making an offer. Most of the time, managers and/or recruiters are looking for clues based on how someone acts in their personal life to try and gain insights into how they would perform if hired. For this reason, it's best to avoid putting anything out there that you would be embarrassed to see on the front page of the newspaper tomorrow morning.

Co-Workers, Managers, and Direct Reports: To Friend or Not to Friend?

Once you've been offered the job and begin working, be mindful of how you use your social media accounts. It's OK to be Facebook friends with your co-workers; however, maintain an awareness of what you're posting and the image you portray. Managers and co-workers alike will be able to see everything you post. If you put something out there that is embarrassing, this could lead to a bad reputation at work and potential loss of respect from your peers.

Really think through if you would like to be friends with your co-workers and direct reports. Pictures, posts, and check-in's allow employers and co-workers to see not only what you're thinking, but also what you're doing. This can be especially detrimental if you're supposed to be working. This information could lead to a disciplinary action if it's affecting your performance.

Be Aware

Laws and practice around social media and the workplace are still being defined, not only by the courts but also by employers. Until these laws are defined, the use of social media by employers will continue. How you use your social media accounts is your personal choice – but be aware of how it might affect your job search and employment relationship.


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