IT Employment

Should you avoid tweeting that you've been laid off?

Should you avoid tweeting about the fact that you were just fired? Should you refrain from mentioning your recent layoff in Facebook? Toni Bowers weighs in on these questions.

I was reading about blogger Geoffrey Abraham (an advertising copywriter in Portland, Ore.) who has come out solidly against using social engineering tools to announce you've been laid off. He said:

"I can understand that what I am witnessing is a sign of the times. In real time. I can even imagine these downtrodden folks thinking, 'Hey, I have a lot of friends in here. Maybe one of them can get me a job.' But nothing is less attractive than desperation."

After reading that, I had to wonder: If I'm following you on Twitter and you share with me your every trip to the supermarket or tire store, why would you be afraid the mention of a layoff would send me running? And why would you be afraid of losing any of the people identified as Facebook "friends" or Twitter followers anyway?

While it's true no one wants to be taken down the path of gloom every time they check in on you (e.g., "Today, like yesterday, and as it will no doubt be tomorrow, was an empty chasm of despair as I face each day friendless and unemployed."), you can mention a job hunt without totally alienating everyone you've ever met. Everything in moderation.

I would not, at the very least, be afraid of appearing desperate if it means getting the word out to 400 of your closest acquaintances that you're looking for a job. That's what networking is all about.

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About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

67 comments
ladyjet
ladyjet

The most inappropriate thing I've seen on Facebook is an office affair with a higher up...Why anyone would jeopardize their job by advertising their married boss is having an affair with them is beyond me. I find having affairs with married people in general is a nasty business. Now, back to the initial question, I'd say no. It won't get you any jobs and you'd be better off posting resumes than Tweeting or blogging. Good luck to you poor saps who are posting that stuff...chances are if your future employers see your comments on Tweet or in any blogs about being laid off or being fired, then I'd say your job possibilities have gone down substantially.

jen
jen

When we discovered that our contractor was tweeting negatively about other clients (and, we believe, about us) and about sub-contractors we ended our relationship with the company.

peterj27
peterj27

As a community nurse working for the NHS UK and a blogger I am acutely aware of the need to tread carefully the fine line... I've had some shall we say negative experiences that everyone may encounter in their professional career. Perhaps that is the key see the 'bad' times in context. I blogged about this last year after reading an item in the HSJ: http://hodges-model.blogspot.com/2008/09/to-blog-or-not-to-blog-that-is-question.html Thanks for the leads / observations here - a topic to revisit without doubt. Peter Jones http://hodges-model.blogspot.com/ Hodges' Health Career - Care Domains - Model http://www.p-jones.demon.co.uk/ h2cm: help2Cmore - help-2-listen - help-2-care http://twitter.com/h2cm

douglasgross
douglasgross

While I do not do any social networking, I do not advertise or otherwise disclose my situation to potential employers. I have a gap in my work history due to a disability I am receiving government benefits for. During the time I have been on disability I decided to do something constructive and go to college, and I got awesome grades. So, if anyone peeks and sees my work history and doesn't ask me what that is about it is their loss. I personally don't like working for someone who makes me feel like I am living George Orwell's book 1984, where everyone knows everything about everyone. So, I don't go out of my way to offer up my personal story.

smokeybehr
smokeybehr

I keep my social networking life far away from my work life, unless it's to let my cow orkers know what I'm doing off-the-clock. I keep all of my various pages mature, and I don't post anything that I wouldn't want my mother to read. This is another in a series of articles of how social networking, when used appropriately can be a good thing, and when used in appropriately can kill your professional life.

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

The last place I worked, the company had the IT guys put a sniffer on the email internet, and fired about a dozen people for abusing both resources. Could it be that the boss, ACTUALLY WANTS YOU TO GET SOME WORK DONE?

Derek Schauland
Derek Schauland

I can see where the managers around the workforce might want to curb twitter usage and ensure maximum productivity, but if the individual has been laid off, regardless the reason, shouldn't all tools be used? Expanding your reach by reaching out to your network is a great way to move forward. If the tools are used to help solve problems, server failures or in this case being laid off, how can that be a bad thing?

njoy_d_ride
njoy_d_ride

OK, I haven't read every comment, but the one thing I haven't seen, and the one thing you should remember when using social networking sites is that potential employers are looking at these sites too.

melissatutors
melissatutors

It's networking...which could result in your next opportunity!

jcommunications
jcommunications

Never understood this whole phenomenon...posting all the mundane crap you're doing day to day...what kind of a loser thinks anybody cares? the only reason I'd be on one of those sites would be as yet another way to meet women...and announcing you don't have a job would pretty much defeat the purpose of that.

galic.miroslav
galic.miroslav

My personal opinion would be: being laid off is nothing to be ashamed of. It is far from proving you are a less value than ones who are not laid off. It's just company not doing well on the market. And life anyway doesn't start at 9 am and finishes at 5 pm. So, do not avoid tweeting that you've been laid off.

Steve Romero
Steve Romero

I agree completely Toni. Yes, don't sound desperate, but in times like these that would be the least of your worries. I was laid off at the height of the dotcom bust. I was lucky to have the opportunity to work with a job placement organization who specialized in all of the tricks of the job-seeking trade. More than any one thing, they devised every practical construct possible to put people in touch with as many other people as possible. I have to believe those organizations are thanking their lucky stars for the social networking conventions available today. And I agree with the "if there was anything ever worth sharing on Twitter" spirit of your comments. My only fear would be the ease with which tweets can be overlooked or missed. I would mitigate this risk by striking the balance between the repetition required to overcome the issue and the potential appearance of desperation noted by the naysayer. Steve Romero, IT Governance Evangelist http://community.ca.com/blogs/theitgovernanceevangelist/

gdgtgrl
gdgtgrl

There's no difference between offline and online networking except in your potential reach. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. are simply tools that can be used to network. All the work goes into building your network BEFORE you actually need to use it. I've seen many times people trying to build a network after being unemployed almost to no avail. Part of it was the fact that they were looking at what they would get from instead what they could give to possible connections. How many times have you been at a networking event and had someone come up to you talking about being unemployed and/or speaking negatively about his employer or the job market? That is wasted time that the person could be selling himself instead. I don't think it's a bad thing to mention being unemployed but I do think more energy should go into selling yourself (but not a selling kind of way). On any of these social networking sites, you have to connect with the right kind of people as well. All of these sites have search utilities. Another way to increase reach is to start blogging about your area of expertise. Those blog posts can be shared on any social networking site creating a lot more exposure than just sending out resumes. Doing so will also help the right kind of people find you.

dougkozak
dougkozak

Just stop tweeting altogether, I really don't care!

MrRich
MrRich

I think you should post/tweet that your are looking. I don't think you should post your thoughts about the position you have been laid off from. Reason: I remember interviewing immediately after my bubble dream job ended in a layoff. Still bitter from the layoff, I think that I could have presented myself better. Similarly, anything you write gets better with a little editing. It takes time and distance to be able to edit your own writing. It is very easy to be negative after a layoff, but the truth is that your expression of a a negative view will not get you hired.

peterdevries
peterdevries

I put postings up on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. Within minutes I had people asking me for my resume and I gained followers on twitter... I kept things positive though throughout and That is what made a difference. When posting just remember the posts are all part of the interview process. Be honest and make yourself look good.

garyramey
garyramey

I, for one, am getting very tired of people with jobs giving people without jobs advice. If people don't know that you are looking for work, they can't help. Sorry that all us unemployed folk are such a downer for Geoffrey Abraham. He would really hate http://www.xemployee.org/ It is dedicated to the unemployed saying what they really think about being unemployed and sharing the experience.

ametz
ametz

I think that people should avoid "tweeting" altogether. For that matter avoid updating facebook every two minutes and 95% of blogs should be shut down. But thats just my opinion.

bill.howey
bill.howey

I think you are doing what you are telling us not to do.... Yes? So much for advice....

drew.mcbee
drew.mcbee

My Lord - how old are we all and how much spare time do we have?

Toretto84
Toretto84

here YOU are, voicing your opinion on a 'social media' site of sorts ;-)

ametz
ametz

I suppose I AM a hypocrite.

gdgtgrl
gdgtgrl

One can use Twitter in exactly the same way - many do. Not only that there's are lots of recruiters on Twitter tweeting about job opportunities.

highlander718
highlander718

at all an excellent point. This is TECHRepublic and I don't think you are spending more than a few minutes daily (maybe 30-40 max?) around here, talking mostly about technical/career related subjects. It is almost the opposite of Twitter :-)

drew.mcbee
drew.mcbee

Here I am doing a similar thing....

buzmeg
buzmeg

Most of what goes on with these "social" sites is just plain juvenile. I can understand wanting to use your networking tools but hey, consider where you are posting! Facebook and the like are NOT professional sites such as LinkedIn. What they are is a place where teenagers go to cry about their pimples, brag about whatever they have to brag about, or push themselves off as something they are not. If you want to use networking on the web then go to a professional networking site. These are not only my opinions they are the opinions of true professionals in the field. How do you want to appear to these professionals who may just be the ones who will make the decision to hire you or not? Think about it!

katedgrt
katedgrt

On who your Facebook friends are. I have several professional contacts that I regularly interface with on Facebook, that are not on linked in. I would certainly want them to know I was looking. As well as my close personal friends who are in the IT field. Really, when you dismiss Facebook as a teenager site you reveal that you don't know what you are talking about. I read recently that the fastest growing population segment on social networking sites are 40-65 crowd.

michaelburton01
michaelburton01

MySpace. . . What a complete waste of bandwidth and social values. Strike that Social values don''t exist on MySpace. And neither do ethics. FaceBook will slip into the same pitfalls in no time at all. Oh , wait, it already has. Tweeting ? About your job or lack there of? How down right pathetic to think that people who would want to hire you are watching with baited breath your Twitter page. Don't whine to the planet that your out of work. Get out of YourSpace, HIT the Bricks KNOCK on Doors and put "Your Face" infront of employers. Employers want to see you in person handing them a well written resume. It shows you have drive and ambition. And for godsake do not put your Myspace, FaceBook or Twit URL on your resume. It makes you look like a social vacuum. These sites are the latest craze to say publicly, My life Sucks and I want every body to know about it. I say you must stand above the rest, and not fall into the false security trap that you have an on-line life everyone wants to know about. Because seriously we don't. Trivia. . . What was the name of the site shutdown by the government because it became infested with sexual predators?

mattohare
mattohare

That can be said about Bebo and Myspace where the primary ages seem under-19 and under-25 respectively. People on my facebook feed are not that way at all. Some of the posts on there may be in the mundane (and for fun). Some of them are practical day to day logistics. And my network is diverse on there. It's entirely likely I'll hear of one mate that needs work and another that needs the job done. They may think that Linkedin is too much for computer and marketing professionals. (And truth be told, I think it's a bit too much that way.) I can still see and introduce them on facebook.

DadsPad
DadsPad

When someone is layed off, there are a lot of negative feelings that will come into play. It often helps to write or talk with close friends. Facebook and Twitter are much open for every feeling to come out. Remember, there are some people that feed off other's negative feelings, and others that are turned off if they continue. Companies now want to use these networkd to check up on employees. If you broadcast to your network you called in sick, but really went to the beach or sports game, this could have a negative effect on your job.

mattohare
mattohare

I would expect an advertising copywriter to be a bit smarter than that. (Then again, when I lived in Portland, I did notice some of them could be a little shy on knowledge in this area.) It's one thing to make a point-of-fact that your job is coming to an end. Totally another thing to say it the way that he styled it in his example. One piece of advice I hear most in job search after layoff is to start networking. Social networking is networking.

lori
lori

As an independent consultant, I've been laid off several times, and had projects end without having another one lined up immediately. Networking is what I do to get the news out. I also try to use my social networking outlets to show people how to deal with job searches effectively. When I post to Facebook and Yahoo Groups about my experiences, I try to tell a good story, and share information about what I'm doing to get back to work. When I succeed in finding something, I crow about it. People like to hear good news, too. Layoffs are scary! In my experience, people WANT to know how I cope, and especially how I'm able to find jobs quickly. The more I can do to show people how to recover, use time effectively, and face challenges with creativity and good humor, the more likely they are to (a) read my posts, (b) offer assistance, and (c) remain my friends. So yes, tweet about a layoff, but make sure there's something in your tweets that will interest your readers. Invite interaction by asking compelling questions. Talk about the good things (if any) that happen to you during your down time. Post helpful hints. Not only will it keep people informed about your life, but it may help you feel less isolated during your job hunt.

mattfrye
mattfrye

I tweeted, FB'd, and emailed my LUG list about my layoff and my future boss saw it and brought me in for an interview. The rest was up to me. Hitting up your network is a good way to help find another job. Don't overdo it, but do it at least once.

jeb.hoge
jeb.hoge

We had a guy here who posted on LinkedIn that he had been laid off before it was even announced here. That was a little awkward. Another guy got laid off the same day that he sent out an email to some coworkers about having a cookout at his place. That ended up cancelled.

AnalysisManager
AnalysisManager

Toni hit the right message on this post. The guy in Portland wanted the web traffic. I lost a job at a major consulting firm in February. I tweeted, Facebooked, and LinkedIn about it. Social media was one component of my overal job search -- "I am in transition and now seeking new opportunities in XYZ industry." The social media brought a lot of great contacts and advice because I stayed positive and only messaged once every few weeks. In my case I got a great job through a client reference and a phone call...but I won't hesitate to crawl Twitter / Facebook / LinkdIn for great candidates when I hire a supervisor in a month or so.

patclem
patclem

Facebook, Twitter, etc. are great if you have professional friends on there that can help you. If I were looking for a job (thank goodness I'm not) I would go guerrilla style on LinkedIn. It's a professional's networking site. I'd invite people to join me for lunch. I'd call people. I'd email people. It's a great way to stay in touch with your professional contacts. I wouldn't use any social networking to talk about how down-trodden I am. I'd use it to announce that I'm seeking exciting new opportunities. I'd update my status what technologies I've been reading about.

eM DuBYaH
eM DuBYaH

I find this whole concept of social/networking sites turning into something it was never intended to. Yesterday I'm reading about how some RIDICULOUS requirement to work for some kinda' backwater city job requires that in order to apply for a job, you must reveal what sites, your login ID and password! This whole social website thing has become absolutely ridiculous! Not the sites themselves, but the reaction of people to them, with all the does and don'ts and unreasonable demands by employers. I believe that as time progresses, the human population must be losing IQ points.

buddm
buddm

There was such an uproar that the city reversed that requirement.

Becca Alice
Becca Alice

...I'd be tempted to reply with "I am planning on submitting an application, but first I must require you to send me your user names and logins for all your personal networking sites so I can be sure what kind of people I would be working for." ^_^

Lexxus
Lexxus

Either it's a test of intelligence for the employee or for the employer....either way, that's none of their business and may be illegal. If the job involves invasion of privacy, I will look elsewhere.

Toretto84
Toretto84

anyone would ask me for the passwords for the social media sites I use, I'd simply refuse to give them. You don't give them the keys to your car / house either, "because it's part of the application process"...

rmagahiz
rmagahiz

And many commentators on that story (concerning Bozeman, MT) pointed out that divulging the passwords would violate the Terms of Service of most or all of those services. There also was no way to block the applicant from changing the password subsequently, so such a request is ineffectual and silly.

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

...average intelligence just isn't very high.

Alces
Alces

That just makes being above average so much easier ;)

HiringGuru
HiringGuru

I'm in the staffing industry and I teach how to get top dollar from a job search which leads to the best offer you can negotiate. Tweeting 50 out 52 updates that youre laid off will have a negative effect earning top dollar if a lot of recruiters get your updates because you've just let us know that you will probably accept the lowest offer I give you if I have a job for you because you appear very desperate. My advice is to Tweet about once a month "I'm laid off or looking for opportunities". Regarding Facebook updates ask yourself "friend or foe" However, over attending network events really hurts you more than know. My FREE webinar today Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/113484706

rita
rita

I agree with Toni. Of course you should not avoid tweeting about job loss. Let people know but rather than just announcing your unemployment, mention three things you can provide to an employer right now. Help people know how to help you. Providing information about your circumstances does not have to be done with desperation. And remember to update people periodically on your career transition progress. Rita Carey, Ed.D. Career Management Specialist.

PMO Weasel
PMO Weasel

Never, ever slam your former employer publicly. No matter the circumstances of your separation.

oschmid14
oschmid14

I am out of work for more than a year, due to downsizing. I am on Twitter since late march and tweet occasionally that I am in the market for new career opportunities with a link to my online resume. So far I had a few people telling me that they will keep their eyes open but the majority of people following me after sending such tweets are Network Marketers (aka MLM Marketers) trying to sell me on a scheme how to make big money quick. So far neither Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter have proven to be successful in my search for new career opportunities.

davidson.ian
davidson.ian

Check out "What Color is Your Parachute?" it's a great book and can really help you get the little push that you may need. Sometimes it's the attitude that stops someone from hiring you, not the experience or education.

bill.howey
bill.howey

Twitter, Facebook, etc. etc. is a tool we all can use to acquaint others with our skillsets, in a subtle way, and ask for help in a unobtrusive way. Unfortunately no one has figured out how to keep the sharks and wolves away from your inbox....

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