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Telling Your Story Online: Where Social Media Meets HR

Telling Your Story Online: Where Social Media Meets HR

Social media has changed the HR landscape. Social media platforms have become powerful tools for job-seeking and professional networking. But social media can be a double-edged sword. It can propel careers forward, as we’ll see in Marta Puerto’s inspiring story, or lead to unintended consequences, as highlighted by Brittany Pietsch’s experience. 

Brittany Pietsch’s Story 

Earlier this year, a TikTok video posted by Brittany Pietsch where her recorded dismissal from Cloudflare, a cybersecurity company, went viral. In the video, Brittany discusses her termination, claiming she was informed that her performance did not meet expectations despite her high activity and positive feedback from her manager.¹ 

She speculates whether the real reason for her and others’ dismissals was the company’s over-hiring. Cloudflare’s HR did not provide a specific reason for her dismissal, promising to follow up with her performance data. Brittany expressed frustration over the lack of transparency and the impersonal way her termination was executed. 

The video resonated with many viewers, leading to widespread support for Pietsch in the comments. However, it also attracted lots of criticism. On X, formerly known as Twitter, Candace Owens called Pietsch’s actions “unbelievably shortsighted” and implied they could hurt her future career prospects.² Several commentators echoed Owens’s viewpoint, portraying Pietsch’s decision to record her employer as a bad career move. 

The Risks of Oversharing 

In today’s social media-driven world, the line between transparency and oversharing can be blurry. Like the popularity of “Get Ready with Me” (GRWM) or “Day in the Life” videos, layoff video trends have been gaining a lot of traction and can be seen as an act of transparency. However, Brittany’s story shows that while sharing these layoff stories may be cathartic, divulging employment information on social media may adversely affect future employer’s decisions when they’re considering hiring you. 

1. Personal Brand 

Sharing such personal employment experiences can have a lasting impact on an individual’s professional image and personal brand. While Brittany received support, such actions can also make potential future employers question a candidate’s discretion and professionalism. After all, the number one rule in interviews is not to badmouth a past employer. 

2. Legal and Contractual Compliance 

Depending on the terms of employment and local laws, sharing sensitive or confidential information from within an employment context can lead to legal repercussions. Although Brittany’s video primarily focused on her personal reaction and did not disclose confidential company information, the act of recording without consent in certain jurisdictions or situations could pose legal risks. 

3. Professional Relationships 

This act can strain former and future professional relationships. While some viewed Brittany’s actions positively, seeing her stand up for herself, others might view such a public airing of grievances as a breach of professional etiquette, potentially affecting future networking opportunities. 

4. Public Perception 

The viral nature of such content often leads to polarized opinions in the public. While many supported Brittany, others criticized her approach, highlighting how public opinion can vary widely and impact a candidate’s professional journey. 

5. Company Reputation 

When employment disputes become public, it not only affects the individual but also the company’s image. Matthew Prince, CEO of Cloudflare responded to the viral video acknowledging the company’s imperfections in the firing process and emphasizing the need for a more compassionate approach in the future.³ While this can lead to a reevaluation of company policies and practices, it also puts the company in a defensive position in the public eye. 

 

Marta Puerto’s Creative LinkedIn Video 

Marta Puerto is a marketing manager who decided to break away from traditional resumes and cover letters, opting instead for a more unconventional method with a 1-minute and 42-second-long video that she posted on LinkedIn. In this video, she showcased her skills in five languages and ended with a playful “Free trial ended. Book an interview.” message.⁴ 

Her decision to create a video resume came from her frustration with the conventional job application process. She felt trapped in a cycle of automated rejections in the increasingly competitive and automated job market. Leveraging the power of social media and video content, she was able to bypass the traditional barriers that many job seekers face when trying to get noticed by employers. 

Social Media as a Powerful Tool for Professional Banding 

Marta’s video gained over 140,000 likes on LinkedIn and captured the attention of hundreds of potential employers. If there’s one thing this revealed, it’s that social media can be used strategically to advance your career because it provides you with: 

1. Visibility and Reach 

Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram offer a global stage to showcase your skills, achievements, and professional insights. Sharing innovative content that reflects your expertise and values attracts the attention of peers, recruiters, and potential employers worldwide. 

2. Engagement and Networking Opportunities 

Unlike traditional resumes or CVs, social media allows for a two-way interaction. By engaging with others’ content and responding to comments on your own, you can build a community of like-minded professionals. This active engagement fosters networking opportunities and can lead to job offers, collaborations, and mentorship opportunities that may not have been accessible otherwise. 

3. Feedback and Growth 

The immediate feedback loop available through social media interactions is invaluable for personal and professional growth. Whether through comments, likes, or shares, the response to your content can provide insights into your audience’s preferences and perceptions, allowing you to refine your brand and messaging accordingly. 

4. Career Opportunities 

As demonstrated by Puerto’s experience, creative and strategic social media use can directly lead to job interviews and offers. In a job market increasingly influenced by online presence, a well-crafted social media presence can make you stand out from other applicants and attract job offers, freelance gigs, and collaboration opportunities. 

Striking the Right Balance: Personal Expression Vs. Professionalism 

The contrasting stories of Brittany Pietsch and Marta Puerto highlight the undeniable impact of social media on one’s career. While social media offers a platform for connection and self-expression, navigating personal branding in a professional landscape requires a strategic approach. 

Social media allows us to connect, share, and express ourselves. However, when it comes to our professional image, a bit of caution is essential. It’s great to showcase our individual personalities while still maintaining professionalism. For instance, steer clear of posting excessive content about your personal life, especially anything potentially controversial. 

Here are some best practices to help you navigate social media professionally: 

  • Maintain a respectful and professional tone in your interactions and online persona. While some humor or personal anecdotes might be okay, avoid negativity, excessive complaining, or anything that could be construed as offensive. 
  • Be mindful of what you post. Before hitting the post button, take a moment to reflect. Ask yourself if the content aligns with your professional brand and how it might be perceived by potential employers or colleagues. 
  • Adjust your privacy settings. Most social media platforms offer extensive privacy settings. Utilize them to control who sees your posts and tailor your content for appropriate audiences. Consider creating separate accounts for personal and professional use if that aligns with your comfort level. 
  • Maintain authenticity. While professionalism is key, striking a balance doesn’t mean being robotic. Let your personality shine through in a way that complements your professional image. Share insights, experiences, and interests that showcase your expertise. 

 

LEVEL UP YOUR JOB SEARCH WITH PEAK PERFORMERS! 

Juggling a job search while building a great online presence can be challenging. This is where Peak Performers can help you find suitable job opportunities—especially in IT, accounting/finance, and office/professional roles—while you focus on creating good impressions. You can start your journey with Peak through our website. 

 

References 

  1. Pietsch, Brittany. “Layoff” TikTok, Jan 2024, vm.tiktok.com/ZMMhPq2Wr/.
  2. Owens, Candace [@RealCandaceO]. “Content of the tweet.” Twitter, 14 Jan 24, twitter.com/RealCandaceO/status/1746562178482593978?s=19.
  3. Prince, Matthew [@eastdakota]. “Content of the tweet.” Twitter, 12 Jan 2024, twitter.com/eastdakota/status/1745697840180191501?s=19.
  4. Puerto, Marta. “Meet Marta: The Movie.” LinkedIn, March 2024, www.linkedin.com/posts/marta-puerto_hiremarta-productmarketing-pmm-activity-7168583881632169984-c7bI?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_android.

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