The Career Counter
Career reinvention for moms

Recently, I was contemplating posting a comment on LinkedIn about the fact that I suffer from anxiety. Before I posted my comment, I remember asking myself why I wanted to post the comment. Was I looking for sympathy? Was it out of frustration? The truth was, I wanted to post it because I want to help reduce the stigma associated with mental health. 

After wrestling with the post for several minutes, I decided to share the comment. I knew that people could judge me for posting something personal about myself online. But that was a risk I was willing to take.

In today’s world, we communicate mostly through technology and social media, so it’s no surprise that our opinions, beliefs, fears and personal parts of our lives get displayed at some point, somewhere on the internet.

But is there a line that we shouldn’t cross? The reality is there is no distinct line in terms of what you should or should not post online. In fact, it’s pretty darn murky.

The thing I tell my clients is that they are adults. They can obviously post whatever the heck they want online. But I also encourage them to first give it some thought. What is motivating them to post? Who will see the information if they post it? What are the pros and cons to posting?

 Below are four categories of social media posts that I advise clients to think about before sharing on social media.

1. Religious or political beliefs

I recently spoke with a hiring manager who said that he had a candidate with a political affiliation listed on her resume. As hard as he was trying not to let it sway his opinion of her, it was.

I asked him if he thought it would affect her ability to perform the job. He said no. In the end he wound up hiring her. But the information she provided on her resume without a doubt resulted in the hiring manager forming a judgement about her that could have cost her the job.

2. Feelings about former bosses, coworkers, or managers

If you feel like you’ve been wronged by a current or former boss or co-worker, it’s natural to feel angry and want to post about it online. However, it’s also important to think about who will potentially read the post.

For example, if you’re currently interviewing and you don’t have your social media accounts set to private, you risk a recruiter or hiring manager seeing your posts online and forming a negative opinion about you.

3. Announcing you’re looking for a new job

This one can get tricky. If you’re currently employed, but you’re also currently in the market for a new job, how do you get the word out without really getting the word out?

It goes back to making sure you set your accounts to private. You can also opt to notify a very small, select group of people online (like a private Facebook group, for example) that you’re searching for a new gig. But even posting something privately runs a risk of having word get out.

It’s better to be extra cautious in a case like this and just tell a few trusted people the good old- fashioned way (i.e. having an actual in-person or phone conversation). That way, you don’t have to worry about a potential leak.

4. Personal photos

In regards to posting photos online, I always encourage my clients to think about the following: Who will see it? Would you want your co-workers to see it? Would you want a recruiter to see it when they google you?

In Summary 

Regardless of what you’re sharing, it never hurts to take a pause and think about your motivation and the pros and cons of posting before you hit that share button.

Maybe you’re posting something because you’re feeling strong emotions. In this case, would it be better to give it a few days before posting — so you can reevaluate your feelings and if it’s worth sharing?

Or, are you posting the information because it is integral to who you are? If so, perhaps it’s a valid reason to share it. If the employer forms a negative opinion of you because of it, maybe it’s not someone you want to work for anyway.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for posting on social media while building your professional brand? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

This article was written by a Fairygodboss contributor.