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What to Share With Whom: the Social Minefield for Young Professionals [INFOGRAPHIC]

ImageI don’t envy students and those starting out on the career ladder right now.  Combining sharing with a career path, especially when you’re impulsive and inexperienced, is a social minefield.  Back in the old days, knowing what personal information to share and with whom, used to be relatively easy. Only native indiscretion (or lots of alcohol) would be the cause of our downfall.  But, as eModeration CEO Tamara Littleton was discussing last week on LondonLovesBusiness, today it’s a different story.


They really do know what you did last summer

According to a recent poll carried out by Hays, the leading recruitment expert, one third of job hunters seriously don’t think employers will look at their social media profiles. These respondents admitted to not changing their social media habits when job searching.  As Juliette Denny, MD of Growth Engineering, said in the article: “The interviewing process may give us one opinion of an individual, but a quick glance at their social media presence can often be just as revealing. The number of job applicants with Facebook pages with unaltered privacy settings is simply astounding. We recently interviewed for an Office Manager and one girl in particular stood out. In person, she seemed friendly, smart and capable. On her Facebook profile, however, her attitude was completely different and there were numerous mentions of her jetting off to the states for a three-month holiday within the next year.”

Ouch. Whilst in the US several states have made it a law that employers cannot request social media passwords to check up on their employees, all candidates  everywhere should take a good look at what is publicly available on their profiles.  One to watch out for: if they are emailing using Google mail, then a tool such as Rapportive can pull together all social media profiles linked to that address.  Displayed alongside your email to your prospective employer or university will be  your latest Facebook and Twitter updates, your LinkedIn and other profiles – as well as the photos you have used.

According to All Facebook, a new study from Kaplan Test Prep shows that 35 percent of admissions officers said they discovered something during a search of applicants’ social media profiles that negatively impacted a student’s chances of getting into the school — up from 12 percent last year – including things that made them “wonder” …


 That awkward moment …

However, the challenge is not only deciding what you should and shouldn’t share with which groups, and making sure that your Facebook profile is locked down.  There is also the tricky social dance about whether you accept friendship requests from colleagues, students, employers, teachers.  To help, have come up with this infographic to help students and young professionals weigh up the pros and cons of getting connected at work.

I like the two bits of advice down in the bottom left:

  • If you receive a friend request from a superior and don’t want to accept it, either ignore it or explain that you try to keep personal and professional loves separate. (This really only works if you actually do keep them separate.  Otherwise use Friend lists to much the same effect)
  • Remember to never post work-place complaints online. Never.  Not. Ever.


Social Media Guidelines for Students and Job Seekers
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