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Overshare? Majority of HR think LinkedIn is no place for personal life

An HR magazine poll has found that a majority (76%) of professionals in the HR community think people should refrain from sharing details about their personal lives on LinkedIn.

Just 7% of respondents said people should share personal details on the platform and 16% said it depends on the style of the post.

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Ashlee Larry, founder and executive director of think tank Progress Rural Enrichment Project, said that while she would love to be able to share more with her professional social network in the interest of authenticity, she thinks the professional world has not made enough progress to facilitate this.

“There are so many instances where people have experienced negative feedback or harmful results by sharing even the simplest details of their personal selves with co-workers or colleagues within their networks,” Larry said.

“Why incur the unnecessary risk? Until humanity chooses to do better, I fully understand anyone who chooses to engage on a professional level only on LinkedIn.”

However, Amanda Ihrig, global recruitment operations specialist at Ivanti, argued that LinkedIn is often void of the criticism experienced on other social media platforms.

“I find solace in LinkedIn because it is not overrun with politics and bullying online,” Ihrig said.

However, she added that the content should stay relevant to people’s careers.

“I would hate for that environment to shift simply because we open ourselves up to be more personal on LinkedIn,” she said.

“Moments of humanity and personality – as it relates to our careers – are fantastic, but I think it's best we keep the majority of our personal stuff offline.”

For Quanique Coffman, virtual HR coordinator at CHA Healthcare, the content people share ultimately comes down to a question of personal brand.

“If your personal branding is important to you and your personal life shows your accomplishments, I don't see why not,” she commented.

“Of course, there is some content that doesn't relate to your career/professional goals and may not need to be displayed on LinkedIn. But in the end, everyone perceives things differently.”

Similarly, Emma Clayton, executive officer at the Civil Service, said: “I think the guiding question should be: does what you're sharing add value?

“How 'value' is defined will vary somewhat from person to person but, at the end of the day, people buy from people, and people hire people so showing your human side isn't necessarily a bad thing.”

HR magazine’s LinkedIn poll was based on the responses of 1,076 people across HR and professional sectors. Results reported were gathered at 9am on 15 October 2021.