In recent weeks, there has been a lot of buzz about BeKnown, Monster's new Facebook app that allows you to establish a professional network on Facebook. This new network — which lets you connect to career-related contacts, without leaving Facebook and without showing those contacts all your more-social Facebook activity, pictures, and so on — is adding new users rapidly, and there have been a lot of very positive reactions from career experts. (For a how-to, check out "How to Use BeKnown," by About.com's Alison Doyle.)
But amid all the excitement, a note of alarm has sounded. Some bloggers have asked, "But if you're friends with your boss on Facebook, he or she will see that you've joined BeKnown — what about that?"
Well, what about it? In response to a MediaJobsDaily blog post on this topic, I asked what would be so bad about that:
"If you're already friends with your boss and other colleagues on Facebook, letting them know that you’ve joined a professional network (one that’ll help you develop your career and connect with other people in your field) will benefit you. It shows you take your career seriously. Considering the other things many people put on their Facebook walls, it sort of seems like the last thing a person should be worried about."
And all joking aside, I would add that if you’re already friends with your boss on Facebook, you should think about asking him or her to join you on BeKnown after you’ve joined. BeKnown is a great place to connect with new customers, clients, industry influencers, and new employees. A good boss will thank you.
Trouble? What Trouble?
There is, it seems to me, a misperception that a lot of people are going to "get in trouble" if it becomes known that they're involved in a professional network — that suddenly their employers will discover that they're looking for a job.
Well, that may be a concern for some people, but it seems unlikely to me.
According to a recent Monster.com poll, 98% of workers said they would at least consider a new job opportunity. Trust me: Employers know this. They know that the line between "actively looking for work and "not actively looking for work" has disappeared. So I maintain that if you have a sane boss (I understand that not everyone does!), adding him or her to your professional network is a good idea.
Everyone Is "Looking for Work," and Employers Know It
At Monster.com, we talk to a lot of employers — because knowing how companies feel about their employees is our job. Bosses, recruiters, HR people, and hiring managers are all concerned about retaining their great employees; these people-managers know that there's no such thing as "actively looking for a job" anymore. Almost all of their workers are hire-able. Even if a great employee doesn't have a resume on Monster.com or a profile on BeKnown (for example), he or she will have friends, former colleagues, and many other ways to find out about job opportunities.
The conversation about "letting your boss know you're looking for a job" needs to include this fact: Bosses (and HR folks, and so on) are, in most cases, human beings. They are people who are managing their careers, just like we are. They live in the same world we do. They have the same concerns about career maintenance that we do. And they connect to networks the same way we do.
In this connected world, a lot of our activities could be called "looking for a job" — joining a professional network (online or in the real world), posting a resume online, maintaining a blog, meeting a former colleague for coffee, participating in volunteer work, and so on. BeKnown simply lets you manage and display, with ease, all these components of your professional life.
If you don't think your boss gets this, you do have problems — but your employer has even bigger problems.
(Read more about BeKnown's approach to networking in "How BeKnown Fits into the New World of Work," by Monster global product manager Tom Chevalier.)
What about you? Are you using BeKnown yet? Have you connected with your boss on BeKnown or on other professional networks? Do you fear retaliation if you are active on BeKnown or a similar network? Share your story in the Comments section.