Anyone who thinks that their “baby boomer” current employer or future employer won’t be looking at their Facebook or other profiles at some point is not living in reality.
A lot of law firm partners don’t have a Facebook (or other) profile themselves but still search the sites extensively.
It continues to amaze me how much personal information people are prepared to disclose on Facebook — even lawyers.
I suppose most people believe that their personal and work lives can be neatly packaged into separate, discreet boxes; but with the legal profession what people do in their personal lives seems to matter and is perceived to set the ‘moral barometer’ for their professional lives as well. At the end of the day, the profession is still conservative.
I have more than one client who makes it a practice to check candidates’ Facebook (and other social media profiles) before agreeing to interview them. I am always surprised at how many lawyers fail this test. Pictures of nights out, strong political views and any other out-of-the-box interests or views tend to be the major culprits. Something you may have uploaded after a boozy night out might stop you getting the job of your dreams; it’s unfortunate but it is a fact of life.
LinkedIn seems to be a good way to put together a professional public profile. A lot of firms and recruitment agencies are using LinkedIn extensively to find candidates and also to ascertain experience and people’s suitability for roles. The trick is to keep it real. Your LinkedIn profile should be a shortened version of your CV, with all the dates, titles and experience lining up. I know one firm that took issue with one of its former lawyers over the extent and nature of work she claimed to have done there.
As a general rule, being very active on Facebook or Twitter suggests that you have too much time on your hands. Same goes with a personal blog or blogging in general. Even if what you are blogging/tweeting about is job specific and relevant to your career, too much of this type of activity will have your current or future employer thinking that you are not working hard enough. And in terms of content, regardless of the medium, if your mother wouldn’t like it then the chance is your employer won’t either.