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EMPLOYMENT ADVICE COLUMN: Overcome Your Fear of Social Media

Dear Joanna,

I have posted my profile on different social media sites, and am applying for jobs that are sent to my email. It’s also helping me build my professional network and keep current in my field. I have not posted my photo and I am worried about my privacy and confidentiality. How do I handle my fear of this important job search and career tool?

Signed Social media phobic

Dear SPP

Practicing safe social media networking is the way around your concerns. Here are some suggestions from in order to avoid “unwanted attention” as well as the “danger of having a false sense of anonymity and security”.

  1. Do not post inappropriate material. Be aware of who can see your pictures and comments. Think about the possible reactions of your potential employers, parents and relatives before posting. Always remember to look at the background of a picture too. Everything you write or post is permanent. Even if you can delete your account, anyone on the Internet can easily download or print the information or save it to a computer.  Think carefully before posting your personal information (our phone number, email address, home address, name and age). The web can make a strong first impression. Untag unwanted material from others, such as on Facebook. Use Google to search your name. Make sure there is nothing online that you don’t want others to see.
  2. Always use the strongest privacy account settings. All sites have this option to help you with confidentiality issues.  Secure your personal information. For example, make your profile viewable to friends only, and not to everyone in your network.
  3. Be selective about who you accept as a friend on a social network. Identity thieves might create fake profiles in order to get information from you. This is known as social engineering.
  1. Be careful about installing extras on your site and delete unused widgets. Many social networking sites allow you to download third-party applications that let you do more with your personal page. Criminals sometimes use these applications in order to steal your personal information. To download and use third-party applications safely, take the same safety precautions that you take with any other program or file you download from the Web.
  1. Choose your social network carefully and only use sites with clearly stated terms of use. Evaluate the site that you plan to use and make sure you understand the privacy policy. Find out if the site monitors content that people post. Read the terms of use, and make sure they can protect the actual blogs, not just the user accounts, with password protection. (Even so, it’s better to assume anyone can see it.)


Joanna 620 x 330 To submit your challenges, concerns, questions and comments regarding this column and/or your job search IN CONFIDENCE, please email

Joanna Samuels, MEd., CMF, RRP, is a certified Life Skills Coach, and Personality Dimensions Facilitator who works as a job developer-job coach-facilitator at Jewish Vocational Services (JVS Toronto), and as a part-time instructor of employment counselling at George Brown College. 


About Joanna Samuels 6 Articles
Joanna Samuels, M.Ed., CMF, RRP is a certified Life Skills Coach, and certified Personality Dimensions Facilitator. With over 11 years’ of experience working as a job coach/job developer and facilitator at JVS Toronto, Joanna’s expertise is providing customized employment and career coaching as well as job placement and training services to individuals and groups from diverse communities, industries and professions. In addition, Joanna helps employers with recruitment, and selection, as well as meeting their diversity and inclusion needs. Joanna is a featured employment advice columnist, published author and blogger as well as a part time instructor of employment counselling at George Brown College, Joanna is a frequent guest speaker at different community events and webinars on topics related to employment and careers.

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