Warning! Over-sharing can Damage your Professional Brand
We live in a society of social media oversharing through Facebook, Instagram and the like – but when you are building a professional brand you do need to be careful about what you post online and what you might tell your work colleagues. If you are in the business world you are also likely to have a LinkedIn profile. It is always wise to consider whether your personal online brand supports or hinders your professional brand.
It’s natural to make friends at work, and often there are opportunities to share things with work colleagues in the lunchroom conversations. Indeed you may socialise with your work colleagues outside of the workplace. While for some it may be considered a somewhat cynical view, but it makes for an interesting and complex scenario when you are friends with work colleagues. You all have competing interests in the workplace, and for that reason sharing some information or views with work colleagues actually arms them with potential information that can be used against you.
Here’s a proposed list of questions to ask yourself before you hit ‘post’ or before you share some of your personal life with your work colleagues over lunch:
- What are your professional goals – and does sharing this personal information support them?
If you are looking towards promotion and advancing in your company, then you need to evaluate what information about yourself you are making public online. The best way to do this is to ask yourself – if I were applying for a job and the selection panel saw my Instagram feed – would I be more likely or less likely to get this job?
- Are your comments going to be viewed as a criticism of your company or your colleagues?
It goes without saying but be careful what you say and where you say it – especially if you are expressing views about your company, your individuals – and more so – your colleagues. Of course you have your personal views, but if your aim is to keep your job, and indeed progress in your company – then keep those views to your inner circle – offline, and don’t publish them widely.
- Are there things about your past that you would prefer are not discussed in the workplace?
We’re not talking about a criminal record here, but perhaps you don’t want others to know necessarily of your religious or political affiliations in case you feel it might disadvantage you in the workplace. Or you might have recently had a relationship break up and you are having personal challenges. We’re suggesting that you should have a division between your professional life and your personal life. It is the simplest way to do well in both significant areas.
- Could the information you are sharing be used against you in any way?
This is plain common sense – but if you start from the position that it is difficult to find someone you can trust in the workplace – that will govern what you decide to share and it will keep you personally and professionally safe in the office. We all have personal biases, and the more information we have about someone and their backgrounds, whether we admit to it or not – it colours our view of a person – positively or negatively. I have always enjoyed starting a new job for example. When you have a new group of colleagues who don’t know you – you can start again and decide what it is you wish to share about yourself.
- Could the information you are sharing affect your professional brand?
The less your work colleagues know about you the better. This is not a suggestion to be secretive but it would be wise to reserve some of your life to outside the workplace. You will inevitably make friends in the workplace but you need to understand that even workplace friends talk so you need to consider just how much they need to know about your personal life and aspirations.
DotPointz to keep your personal and professional life separate;
- Think before you share – would I want my boss/manager/colleagues to know about this?
- Consider if sharing the information helps build your professional brand
- Your inner circle that you can really trust – is usually not made up of work colleagues
This is our personal blog . The views expressed on these pages are our views alone and not those of our respective employers.