Can politics get in the way of your career?

Today I scrolled through my Linked In feed in hopes of getting caught up on professional updates and snippets of career inspiration from my network. Instead I was bombarded with political commentary from multiple contacts.

To the credit of many of my connections, I saw the comment threads wagging a finger at the originators of the political posts. “This doesn’t belong here” was the predominant theme.

I confess I’m quite surprised that people have chosen Linked In as their forum for political views. As a professional networking site, the risks would seem to obviously outweigh the rewards.

In this election year, we are seeing a greater political divide than ever before. Even those (and I’m guessing the majority) who fall more in the middle, may have strong views on certain issues. But could those strong views ever get in the way of your career?

As an executive recruiter, I say, “Absolutely.” When politics become the topic, you risk alienating or offending current or future colleagues. Like it or not, your politics — rather than your abilities — may influence someone’s decision to hire you (or not).

Linked In is an exceptional tool to help you connect with others in a professional forum. It’s designed for collaboration, networking, learning, exploring jobs, and being found for new opportunities. Your profile gives others a glimpse at what you do. Your posts and comments give insight to how you think. Your recommendations validate the contributions you have made.

Don’t let your career get derailed by using a professional network for political discussion.