I was reading a local publication in which a job coach was giving people advice on when and how to use employer resources during a job search. My approach is different: Never use an employer-owned computer, tablet, or phone as part of your job search. In many states, including Illinois, an employer can fire you if it learns that you're looking for another job. Does that every happen? Rarely -- but it can happen. More likely, an employer who knows that you're looking for work would make your life miserable and try to make you quit.
What's the solution? Never use an employee-owned device for you job search. Purchase a computer and phone that you can use for private matters. Another reason to do this is ethical. Put yourself in the employer's place: How would you feel if an employee were using your devises and paying for service that lets you look for another employer? A final thing to think about, if you were terminated without notice, what would you do to keep your job search going. You'd have to buy a phone and computer. Start by doing that, and you'll have no worries about what your employer will do.
A friend sent me an article from the Society of Human Resources Managers (SHRM). It discussed the case of an employee who was fired for what she wrote in a personal blog. A TV reporter mocked her managers and, worst still, viewers. The article notes that this was not the first time that the employee posted negative comments about her job and pay.
Some might say that this was a personal space, the employee’s blog. That claim might work if she had written her words in a journal that no one else sees or if she used a function similar to the one on Facebook that limits who can view an online post. A blog is public. It can be viewed by anyone, including employers.
If your thoughts about your job are disparaging or harmful to the company, it can – in most cases – end your employment. Use “social” media very carefully. We’ve all heard stories of people who lost opportunities because of photos or posts on Facebook. Companies are using social media to evaluate both prospective and current employees. Practice good career management: Think before you post.