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Social-networking profiles affect job-searching students

Social-networking profiles affect job-searching students

By Natasha Goodell, Oklahoma Daily, U. Oklahoma

September 22, 2009

As students begin the search for entry-level jobs and internships, some are carefully considering how to keep their Facebook pages clean and professional.

“While Facebook is a social network, it has become a professional stomping ground as well,” said Abigail Solis, health and exercise science junior. “In the event a potential employer were to view my page, I wouldn’t worry about their perception of me being damaged or altered because it is quite above reproach.”

Solis said inappropriate language and suggestive, lewd or off-color photos are off limits on her Facebook page.

“If a student is looking for a job when they graduate, they need to start cleaning up their Facebook now,” said Heather Spencer, internship and career adviser for the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Spencer said students should feel free to be themselves, but at the same time, need to be careful with what they are posting online because potential employers could be looking at their page.

“The advice I gave my own daughter was to take down her Facebook page while she was job searching,” said Bette Scott, director of career services. “After she was employed, she put it back up.”

Scott said although there are privacy settings on these sites, employers can find ways around them if they know a friend of the person they are interested in hiring.

“Every year, I think more employers are using Facebook to make good decisions when hiring,” Scott said.

She said the pictures of keg parties and other things that are none of potential employer’s business should really be left off from students’ Facebook pages.

Scott said she thinks it would be fine to put interests, hobbies, educational information and professional pictures on Facebook.

“I encourage students to make sure their Facebook [pages are] very professional,” she said.

Scott said she thinks employers are still evaluating how they will use social networking or if they will use it.

“I think social networking has broadened the way we network with people,” Spencer said. “Businesses are able to reach more audiences, and audiences can interact with someone from these businesses.”

If the companies are smart enough, they will be looking for mentioning of their products on these social networking sites, and if they see any negative responses from individuals, they can respond with some positive feedback, Spencer said.

“I use Facebook for personal use and business at the same time,” Spencer said.

Spencer said she has been able to maintain many connections through Facebook, along with the social networking site LinkedIn, which is aimed at professional use.

“I think LinkedIn is a good way to connect and network on a more professional platform,” Scott said.

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