Last year I responded to a reporter asking: “I am seeking someone who can discuss whether announcing a recent personal layoff in a Facebook status update is the right choice and some advice on the best way to do it.”
This was my answer:
I think it depends upon the circumstances of the layoff but if the person considering telling their Facebook network theyâ€™ve been laid off is ultimately comfortable doing so, there are benefits to be gained.
First, you have a sympathetic audience. Most peopleâ€™s Facebook networks consist largely of people to whom they have some degree of familiarity and by virtue of being their Facebook friend, those friends have some degree of positive feelings toward you. Further, everyone understands how bad the economy is and since layoffs are all too common these days, people will have even more sympathy for you by virtue of knowing your circumstances.
A good part of the phenomenal growth of Facebook is due to the poor economy. People are realizing that social networks are very efficient for job networking as well. Recruiters are all over Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter.
By using Facebook to announce your employment status, you can tap your friendsâ€™ social networks, thereby exponentially expanding your potential job opportunities.
One of the primary activities on social networks like Facebook is sharing: In addition to sharing what theyâ€™re doing, people share contentâ€”links, photos, videoâ€”they share Facebook groups and events and games. Sharing is a huge part of the culture of Facebook and job openings are no exception to that culture.
People want to help the people they know out. It is absolutely easy to do that on Facebook, so forwarding a person to someone I know who might be hiring is a breeze. And as someone referring a person, you help two people at once, your friend and the person to whom youâ€™re referring.
The most important thing to think about when announcing youâ€™ve been laid off is to find a positive way to do so. Do not trash your previous employerâ€”howâ€™s that going to look to a potential new employer? Be as positive as you can and express an excitement about what the future holds for you. Having a positive attitude during a time of transition is in itself a positive attribute to demonstrate to your future employer.