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Security Cleared Job Seekers: Remember HAM Principle on Social Networks

Posted by Kathleen Smith

Honesty, accuracy and mitigation. This trio makes up the “HAM” principles which, according to FederalTimes.com’s Greg Rinkey, security cleared individuals need to adhere to when participating in social networks:

“If you hold a security clearance or if you ever want to apply for one, be mindful of your postings and contacts online, particularly on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. These sites pose risks to gaining and keeping a security clearance.”

While Rinkey raises some very legitimate concerns, we believe that security cleared professionals can use social networks and utility tools during a job search quite successfully assuming they have been  responsible users (a la HAM style) on such networks in their personal social web usage as well as their  professional social media engagement.

Another good point: Rinkey brings up the gray area social networks have given birth to in so far as what constitutes the definition of an associate and continuing contact:

“Your list of friends on Facebook may include foreign nationals, or you could have foreign followers on your Twitter page. Is giving a foreign national access to your social networking page as a “friend” considered close and continuing contact even if you never directly message them? Is having access to your updated information enough for a person to be considered an associate? Unfortunately, this uncharted territory can ensnare a potential or current clearance holder.”

Again, when participating on social networks, think in HAM terms. And, given the above, it may be a very good idea for security cleared professionals to closely monitor foreign national friend requests received on social networks. You don’t have to reciprocate friendship requests and many social utility tools have privacy settings which will allow you to customize how you share information and with who you choose to share information with.

In the end, again, think HAM and take great care in what you disclose online. If you take an active role in managing what you share and who you share it with, most security cleared job seekers will good to go in so far as using social media to job search and identify new career opportunities via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 03, 2009 12:36 pm

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