Given that this is – how shall I put it? – a somewhat controversial election year, it seemed like a good time to go over a little social media etiquette and how your on-line antics can jeopardize your job search. Now, I’m a big fan of the First Amendment and all that it entails, but I’m not sure that our Founding Fathers took into account Facebook, Twitter and YouTube when they wrote it.
For those of you who haven’t read it in a while, the amendment as adopted in 1791 reads as follows:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
With regard to freedom of speech, this means that the government cannot limit freedom of speech. However – and this is a big caveat – the amendment does not address actions by private individuals. Federal laws prevent employers from not hiring or firing employees based on race, religion and gender, but there is no such protection for political opinions or activities. (Full disclosure – there are a few states that make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of an employees’ political beliefs, but North Carolina isn’t one of them).
A recent survey by CareerBuilder.com shows that two out of every five hiring managers may be looking at your Facebook and Twitter accounts evaluating your professionalism, personality and character. That post-debate political rant you wrote earlier this week about Hilz or The Donald might just offend someone enough to keep you off of the interview slate.
We are all entitled to our opinions and most of us take them pretty seriously. I suggest that you consider the pros and cons of voicing your opinion in a forum like Facebook. Calling everyone in the other party a ‘complete raving imbecile’ may be hard to explain in an interview with a member of that political party.
When sharing your views in cyberspace try and do so in a respectful, thoughtful and non-ranting manner. The election is still six weeks away….