Do you use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends? And LinkedIn to network and search for your next job? What about Twitter? In this post, which I co-wrote with Christie Cordes, socially savvy founder of Ad Recruiter, we examine how the lines between our Social networks are blurring and whether the walls between our private and professional lives need to come down.
Scenario 1 – Friends of Friends
When job connections are made organically on Facebook, it’s Social at its best – your personal and professional lives converge in a natural way.
Here’s an example: you (a Creative Director) share a brilliant video, infographic, or blog post, along with a pithy comment. A friend re-shares your content and soon her friends start commenting, too. As it happens, one of these friends of your friend is an Executive Creative Director (ECD) at another ad agency. This rock star sends you a friend request. COOL! Over time, you share vacation photos, Mashable links, inspiring creative resources, etc. Somewhere down the line, when he needs a new CD, he pings you first. You get the job. Life is good.
Sounds simple, right? But what helped the stars align? What happened to make it easy for the ECD to get to know you well enough to want to be friends with you? When he clicked on your “about me” section, was he able to access your full profile, including all the amazing places you worked? Was it open so Friends of Friends could view it?
If not, you probably missed out on an opportunity to be friends with one of the greatest creative minds in the universe. You blew a chance to grow your network. And possibly took yourself out of the running for your future dream job.
But let’s think positive. Let’s say your “about me” was open to viewing and the ECD saw more than a glib bio and where you went to college. He also saw a list of the amazing places you worked and links to your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, and your online portfolio. If this was the case, your chances of getting a friend request from this rock star went up 80%.
Scenario 2 – Industry Recruiter
Let’s try another scenario. An industry recruiter (who you know and trust) suggests making your Facebook “about me” more public so a potential employer – a rock star ECD – can view it. Would you agree? Or would your first instinct be to say “HELL NO”?
Facebook, the most personal and populous social platform – with 158 million users in the U.S. alone – is where employers are now looking to recruit. Why? Because on Facebook, people are themselves. They’re not polished and packaged like they are on LinkedIn. Employers want to know who they’re hiring. But most of us insist – for good reason – on keeping our personal lives private. After all, it’s illegal for an employer to ask you your age, political leanings, or religion.
To illustrate the types of conversations recruiters are having with resistant candidates, Christie and I created the following Facebook dialogue.
Facebook, the recruiting battleground
Christie FB message to Rebecca: Hi Rebecca, I got your FB message that you’re looking for a new gig. I’ll keep an eye out. Can I ask you a question? Why if you’re looking for new gigs (under or over the radar) are most of your Social profiles vague about your experience? Do you realize the best ECD’s globally use FB networking as their personal cache of “friends” with talent? Your “about me” section only tells me where you went college and that you love fried chicken. Suggestion: cut & paste your LI profile into you FB “about me” and make that section public so friends of friends in the industry can see how amazing your experience is.
Rebecca FB message to Christie: <gasp> Christie I don’t USE FB for “networking”. It’s for friends and family only.
Rebecca: Because I don’t want Industry People to SEE my posts, pictures of my kids’ birthday parties...
Christie: Why not? You’ll also see pictures of theirs. Look, people hire qualified people they trust, like and know. I see FB pictures of Global ECDs and CEOs on vacation all the time. Hitting the LIKE button tells them you enjoy their picture and that you’re a “friend” of theirs “in the industry”.
Rebecca: Why does he (an ECD) need to see my FB profile when he’s already seen my LinkedIn profile? My FB is personal -- and PRIVATE. I’m emailing you my resume.
Christie: Why does your favorite creative mind need to be your FB friend (?) because you can’t like his fun vacation pictures on LinkedIn -- that’s why. You can’t comment on the latest crazy video he posted on his wall! You’re not in his inner circle. Don’t you want to open doors for yourself and your career? LinkedIn is a less powerful (inner circle). BTW, thank you for the resume PDF but I don’t need it. We’re already LinkedIn. That’s your resume, isn’t it?
Rebecca: I hear you but I’ve never been asked to open my FB before to Industry People.
Christie: But you’re asking me about possible opportunities, I’m telling you where a great place to find them is. It’s right here on FB. How about this: OPEN your FB up to folks you’d love to eventually work with, by being FB friends with them, make “about me” your public FB (resume) or profile experience and start sending notes to a few friends of friends you admire in the industry. Trust me; they’ll look at your ABOUT ME and see your experience and that you’re connected to mutual friends. I assure you no PDF has that kind of impact. Imagine the impact if you become FB friends? Just see what happens.
Rebecca: But who I am on Facebook is different than who I am on LinkedIn or Twitter. Would I have to tweak my Timeline? Even if I had the time to clean it up, I’m not sure I want to.
Christie: The idea isn’t for you to try to be someone you’re not. ECDs love getting invites from friends of friends and FB fans who are in the industry and are talented. They love seeing all their friends’ creative posts. And remember, if you’re not one of their friends on Facebook, when they have an opening, you won’t even make their shortlist.
Rebecca: Let me think about it.
Christie: Sure. Think about it. But in the meantime, please at least add some of your great work experience to your “about me” section and BE sure you have links to your Twitter & LinkedIn profiles "just in case” one of your brilliant FB posts gets re-shared by a co-worker friend and is then seen by industry friends of friends.
Privacy versus Opportunity
Will Rebecca take Christie’s advice? If she does, will the ECD view her FB profile, friend her, and think of her the next time he needs a new CD? There are no guarantees. But if she becomes his FB friend, she’s certainly more likely to be top of mind.
Either way, there’s no denying that the lines between professional and personal social platforms are blurring. The worlds of LinkedIn and Facebook are colliding as your colleagues (or even your boss) become your Facebook friends.
Is this a good thing? It is in the sense that current and future co-workers are more likely to know and accept you for who you really are. On the other hand, when your private life is open to public scrutiny, you may be judged on your views on politics or taste in music. It’s a trade off. The crossover FB/LinkedIn bonds are stronger than the connection we have with those folks we know only on LinkedIn. But are they worth giving up our privacy for?
What do you think? Do you separate your personal and private online lives? How much Facebook/LinkedIn overlap do you allow, if any at all?