With all the publicity on employees getting fired over wall posts on Facebook, the last thing you’d expect to hear from the popular social networking site is that it can help boost your career.
True enough, posting about work on Facebook can bring about negative and serious consequences to office politics. We should always be careful and tactful when it comes to voicing out our opinions and grievances on a public domain especially when it’s on the Net.
Nevertheless, the opposite can also happen. That is, social networking sites such as Facebook can give you an edge in your career if you use it to connect with co-workers and clients the right and proper way. Of course, it very much depends on your office culture and several other factors. Then again, some basic principles apply regardless of your office environment.
Here are some suggestions on how you can potentially make good use of your Facebook to impress your colleagues, bosses, clients, etc and possibly land you in a better position at work.
Many of us avoid adding our bosses, colleagues or our clients into our Facebook network for fear that they would have access to our more personal posts, personal details and such. Some of us do that because we want to have some level of privacy to be able to post with greater ease, especially when it comes to our gripes about work.
Well, you can see that Facebook is a double-edged sword. You’ll need to grant access to people from your work before you can use it for posts that’ll impress them. If you play the game well, then your career might get that boost it is lacking from your other efforts at work. If you screw that up and post things that might inadvertently offend people from work, your chances get reduced to less than what it used to be. Moral of the story? Be mindful of what you post. You’ll see how to do that in my next few tips.
Forming the connections with your bosses, colleagues and clients is just the essential first step. If you’re worried about them having access to your personal photo albums, status updates and such, don’t worry. Facebook has recently come out with more personalized and in-depth privacy settings (Improved Friend Lists) that enable users to decide who can see what posts.
As much as you want to make people from work think that you are a workaholic who is completely passionate about what you do, it is not advisable to only post EVERYTHING about work, or worse, to post everything positive about it, and about how much you really love your work. It would probably come across as trying too hard.
In any case, you will definitely need to connect with them on a personal level. Show them what you are like, as a person, through the way you present yourself on Facebook, some personal photos here and there, and so on. Show them that you do have a life outside of work. It may be harder to convince your boss to give you that promotion if you lack personal touch.
Some of us believe that work and personal life are separate entities altogether, meaning that the way we relate to people at work may be vastly different from our relationships with our friends and family. However, I would think that our personality between these two aspects of life should be quite aligned so that people would see you as one kind of person rather than someone with a split, or inconsistent personality.
This, I believe, is an important ingredient for trust to occur.
As with all other social networking platforms, Facebook gives you the perfect opportunity to expand your network. Co-workers from other departments may not know you on a personal level in the office, but this relationship can continue to deepen when you add them into your Facebook network. You can then attempt to chat, play games, share interesting posts and explore hobbies via mutual ‘likes’.
What do all these translate to? Well, first and foremost you would improve your social life in the office. Having more friends around would probably keep you going when the time gets tough. After all, these friends are also colleagues who work in the same organization as you, so there’s no one else better who would understand what you may be facing.
Secondly, as you are probably aware, networking gets you places. It is particularly important to build strong networks within your organization if you’re climbing the ladder. Why? One of the most crucial reasons is that it will get you noticed. If you manage to establish friendships with at least one person from each department of your company, these friends may recommend you to their bosses should they need a replacement.
Another significant reason is that knowing someone from every department would likely make your work easier if you need some inter-departmental favors.
You need to keep in contact to maintain any relationship. The edge that Facebook has over offline networking is that you get updates from friends whenever you log in, be it in the form of status updates or photo uploads. This makes it a lot easier to keep yourself informed on what’s going on in their lives before you interact with them.
Essentially speaking, getting updates from your bosses, colleagues, and clients (in particular) lets you have the advantage of knowing what they’re into at the moment before they actually tell you in person. Sometimes, they may not even want to tell you directly. You can then seize the opportunity to respond to what they have just posted, come in handy and make a lasting impression.
At other times, this simply provides you the information to initiate a conversation and maintain the relationship with them on a regular basis.
For instance, if your client posted something regarding his or her need to engage some services, you can step in and offer to help by either offering your expertise or just recommending and suggesting some service providers. That way, you cultivate the trust between both of you and can even expect your client to consult you in the future. You can even add in potential clients or customers to your network so that you can actually ‘recruit’ them when their posts give out signs that they might require your services.
Whatever industry you may be in, you can use Facebook as a platform to demonstrate your passion, vision and whatever opinions you may have about your work. Given that you’ve added a range of work contacts such as your boss, co-workers, and clients, it is now much more convenient and appropriate to give your two cents’ worth and project yourself as a competent leader, team player or a reliable consultant, whichever you think would bring you closer to your career goals.
Take note though, that there’s a thin line between showcasing and being a show-off. The key is to not let others think you’re trying too hard. Post something about what you think or feel about your work every now and then, but don’t let all your posts revolve around it.
Remember to stay humble and not post things that make you sound like you are right and others are wrong. Just let your posts be as neutral as possible and keep an open mind about whatever comments that may come in.