The New Politically Correct

Posted on September 23, 2009

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The other day an HR professional, and friend, took me to task for how I portrayed myself on the web. She thought I was saying appropriate things, but in inappropriate places. For example, status updates and blog posts about dealing with whether or not my wife has cancer were fine some places, like Facebook for example, but not in all places. We had a bit of a discussion about personal marketing – all completely friendly and professional.

The whole point of personal marketing is not only to put your professional qualifications where recruiters and hiring managers can find them, but also to share who you are. It’s quite likely that, by the time you get to an interview, the company already knows that you’re qualified. All they want to know is if you will fit their corporate culture, or if the existing members of the team get along with you. Social media can help with that – granted, in both good and bad ways. Some people may read your blog and be turned off. That’s an opportunity missed for both parties, but in the long run that may be better for you.

So when my friend opened the subject, I was a little resentful at first. I admit that. That said, I asked her some questions, found out where she was coming from, and solicited some constructive feedback from her. Now I think she was right. In the same way that you can’t always say what you think, there are appropriate places for different media. I’m not hiding anything. It’s very easy to get from any of my social media to my website, and from there to the rest of my content. I’m just focusing my presentation a bit more, and demonstrating that I know when and where to be professional, and when and where to be quiet and listen.

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