Separating the Personal from the Professional Online

Posted by: Francesca Di Meglio on June 2, 2009

With the economy in turmoil, many MBA graduates are finding the job search tough going. To give readers some insight into the strategies they’re pursuing and the difficulties they face, BusinessWeek has recruited four out-of-work MBAs to write about their experiences for a new feature called “The Hunt” that will appear periodically on the Getting In blog. Comments, as always, are welcome.


By Bryan Glover
Social networking sites have proven to be very useful tools for me during the trials and tribulations of my job search. These days, my online networking is limited to two sites: Facebook and LinkedIn. I have accounts on other social networking sites, but I rarely use them, choosing instead to focus my energy on the two sites I mentioned. I have tried to separate the types of networking I do on each site because I have seen friends of mine in trouble professionally for not setting boundaries for themselves and friends on the various sites out there.

Facebook is a site I have relied on mostly for emotional support and staying in contact with friends. The only “professional” contacts I have on Facebook are former professors who I developed personal relationships with over the course of my undergrad or MBA programs. I recently shared with all of you that I had finally been hired on as a full-time employee at a company here in the San Diego area. Unfortunately, the position didn’t work out because of the financial position of the firm, and I now find myself back in job hunt mode.

I have been able to keep my friends updated on my progress through Facebook, and the words of encouragement I have received have been very helpful in keeping my spirits up. In addition, some of my friends have tried to provide leads to jobs or consulting opportunities and some of these leads look promising. Why am I not doing more to leverage Facebook professionally? Because I don't want to have to worry that a friend will post something inappropriate on my page that can be seen by co-workers or hiring managers. I want to be able to vent my frustrations and true feelings without fear of repercussion and I like the idea of being able to "let my hair down" with friends that I rarely get to see in person.

For my professional networking, I am using LinkedIn. That being said, I don't think I am doing a very effective job at leveraging this potentially powerful tool in my job search. I welcome any suggestions or success stories from LinkedIn. Why did I choose LinkedIn? Because it seemed to be the most popular of the professional networking sites, and many of my former colleagues from school and work are on the site. I have been invited by a couple of friends to scan their professional networks for opportunities, but haven't seemed to have the time to do this properly. I see some form of this type of site being very important to job hunting in the future, I'm just not sure how it will play out.

I can't say that I have a lot of advice to give when it comes to social networking sites and job searches. I think the only piece of advice I could offer that will be of any merit is that I believe it is best to focus your networking on just a few sites. I think the Internet has revolutionized the way people interact, and I am grateful for the ability to keep in touch with long lost friends/classmates/colleagues, but I see it as possible, if not likely, to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of sites available for use. As with most things in the business world, focusing your efforts is generally the best way to achieve success.

Reader Comments

Scott McKenzie

June 10, 2009 2:12 PM

For LinkedIn and Facebook I recommend Mike O’neils group Integrated Alliances – he and his group help leverage social media platforms and our experts on LinkedIn. - Mike has over 20,000 plus connections on LinkedIn

Good luck in your job hunting!



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