We’ve been taught from birth not to judge a book by its cover, but I’m afraid that in my opinion those who don’t judge a book at least a little bit by the cover probably have a much smaller success rate than those who do. Appearance matters, people. If I have learned nothing else in college, I have learned that if you want to impress someone – be it a client, an employer, or just a friend – you have to first get the opportunity to impress them, and good luck getting that opportunity if you don’t have an appearance worthy of their time; there’s a reason the public relations industry exists. Now don’t start twisting my words around on me and believe I’m saying, “only trust pretty people” – I’m saying that a professional looks professional. Professionals take the time to clean themselves up and put on a decent outfit before an interview, they have table manners, & they speak with confidence when asked questions.
So why do I bring this up now? In recent weeks I’ve been approached numerous times about the topic of a separation between my personal and professional life. Some seem concerned with the fact that I only use one twitter account rather than having separate accounts for each side of my life – same story with my FaceBook account; I decided the best way for me to express my thoughts on this topic would be with a blog post explaining my opinions on the separation between personal and professional life.
For some career paths, especially anything to do with government, it is imperative to keep a spotless record on every account that has your name attached, but that isn’t the case for everyone, and it isn’t the case for me. Studies have shown that a huge percentage of employers will use social networks like Twitter and FaceBook to weed out job applicants – so why am I not concerned about this when I post a swear word in a tweet or a personal opinion in a FaceBook status? I suppose the most direct and blunt answer to that question is “Because, I don’t care.” I have professional accounts (Facebook Page, LinkedIn, this blog, etc.) that I use to display my motives and skills for my work-related activities, but what I chose to do in my personal time, I’m not ashamed of, and if I am cut from an application for this reason, then it simply wasn’t the right place for me.
I am an extremely dedicated student, a hard worker, and I’m constantly seeking self-improvement and more education, but I don’t mind letting people know who I really am. The more I grow into my new professional lifestyle, the more this all becomes clear to me. The balance between the separation of professional and personal accounts all depends on what your expectations for yourself are. I’m planning on being self-employed so I’m not looking to impress any employers, and the clients I work with understand that my work speaks for itself. If for some reason I changed my mind and wanted to work for another company, I’d be more than content with them seeing anything and everything I have online. If I were to work for someone else, I would want that someone to hire me for my talent. Anything I post about my personal life is true and a representation of who I am outside of work – I have no concerns with it ever interfering. I may not be a perfect person, but I am an excellent worker, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything online that proves otherwise.
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