Use social media carefully in your IT job search

Ben Cathers, writing on the Personal Branding Blog, highlights some changes afoot at Facebook worthy of your attention. He notes that in a recent re-design the social networking site has renamed and repositioned the personal biographical information section. The new setup gives entrepreneurs and careerists new opportunities for using Facebook to connect:

For entrepreneurs who use Facebook for personal branding, you should mention your business, your primary content objectives (what you will be posting), and all of your websites (blog, company, Twitter profile). In addition, you should mention the type of people you are specifically looking to connect with (end users for your company’s products, potential business partners, etc., etc.).

While many professionals are already familiar with LinkedIn’s value for career marketing, Facebook’s enormous popularity is going to make its use for professional networking increasingly unavoidable. If you’ve previously kept Facebook as “strictly personal” in the past, it’s worthwhile to investigate the site’s new privacy features and consider whether it may be time to face forward.

Looking for a technical job with the military or a company that does business with the military? Social media communications and blogging may be the resumes of the future, but if you’re in a sensitive occupation you need to be careful about what you’re saying online. Recently the US Army has launched a social media handbook, providing guidance for soldiers on the acceptable use of Facebook, Twitter, and other Web 2.0 tools. According to a recent article on Mashable:

The new social media handbook now provides additional tips and best practices, along with information on operations security tips, branding information, checklists, regulations and frequently asked questions.

A list of security tips, provided in the handbook, includes points such as:

– Setting privacy setting options to “friends only.”
– Not revealing schedule information and event locations.
– Considering turning off the GPS function of smartphones to avoid geotagging.
– Reviewing photos and videos before they’re posted online to make sure they don’t give away “sensitive” information.
– Making sure family members understand what type of information can and cannot be posted on social networks.

Whether you are in the military or another occupation which places a premium on privacy, be sure not to go overboard in your use of social media throughout your job search. Be sure your future employers understand that you’ll respect their legitimate needs for keeping important information confidential.

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