Social media takes its toll on perspective employees

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Peter Mason
pdmason@radford.edu

Every minute of every day, millions of people are online. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are used by people of all ages for many different reasons. People want to be able to express themselves, talk to each other, and of course, find a job upon graduation
“The internet has really revolutionized the job market,” said Director of Career Services Ellen Taylor. “It’s revolutionized how career service centers and university campuses interface with employers.” She explained that she believed overall the impact the internet had on the job market was actually pretty good in a way.

“Students and employers are able to connect directly, at a level that they’ve never been able to do before,” Taylor said.
In the past, career services has been looked at as the “gatekeepers” between students and employers, so finding a job after college for any student graduating had to be done through career services.

Taylor said that she didn’t think the level of control that career services had over students when it came to finding a job was a good thing for any graduating senior. Career Services was able to decide which students were ready and worthy to go into the job market.

Now, one of the first things an employer will do when they want to know more about their applicants is do a Google Search on the applicant’s name to see what comes up. Over 90 percent of employers will use this method to learn more about a job applicant.

“I do that when I’m hiring student workers and grad assistants,” Taylor said. “I just Google the name and see what comes up.”
She said one of the things a student should do when seeking a job after college is to pretend you’re an employer and Google your own name to see what shows up.

One of the best websites that can be used to find a job is the social networking site known as LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) where students can create a professional profile for themselves that an employer can look at.

“It’s a great place for students to be able to essentially market themselves,” Taylor explained. “To almost put their resume in the profile very intentionally, so you’re getting yourself out there using those keywords, all that good stuff.”

Facebook, however, is the big networking site that almost everybody uses; it would be extremely difficult to find a student who doesn’t have a Facebook account at Radford.

“Pretty much everybody’s on Facebook,” Taylor explained. “College students that are looking for jobs are on Facebook, they’ve been on Facebook, and employers know that.”

She said that all students need to do the best they can to make sure that their information stays private from any potential employers who might be looking for them.

“Clean up,” Taylor explained, “Delete anything you can. Most employers aren’t going to dig, dig, and dig and dig. They’re not going to do that, so just take whatever prudent steps you can to make sure that the information on Facebook is a positive reflection on you, use the privacy settings appropriately.”

Although Facebook is now able to keep old pictures, up to three years after they are deleted, Taylor said that most employers wouldn’t go too far down a list to see them. Some might, but she said as long as students use the privacy settings and keep their profiles clean, it wouldn’t cause too much of a problem. She also said that students should make sure that their voicemail message on their phone is appropriate for if an employer was to try to call them and not get an answer.

“In addition to what’s on Facebook, there’s going to be that personal relationship in networking,” Taylor said. “That’s going to be the most beneficial piece to them.”