Put your best Facebook forward, avoid employers passing up

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Employers today look beyond résumés and scooping out social networking sites. No longer are they merely interested in education and volunteer experience, they want to get a sense of character. Entering the work force in today’s job market requires students looking for work to cover all of the bases, including MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Taking certain steps to insure a professional appearance online exist as a necessity when trying to appeal to future employers.

According to a recent collegegrad.com survey, 37 percent of college graduates seeking jobs change their social network content. How do they know what to change? What are considered attractive qualities to these potential employers?

Director of Career Services Rick Roberts shed some light on what employers look for on online profiles.

“I give the same advice for answering machines,” Roberts said. “You need to appear professional. You don’t want employers seeing you as immature. You need to save the personal stuff for your friends. I have seen pictures of students partying that kill their career opportunities.”

Some students take note of this rising trend of research within the job market and take it upon themselves to censor their pages.

“[The issue] was brought up in my Law and Ethics class,” said Beth Jensen, a UNF public relations senior. “After that, it became a concern.”

Roberts pointed out how some sites play an important role in the job search.

“LinkedIn is a social networking site designed as a job search tool,” Roberts said. “Employers can see your profile, education background and résumé. You can post references from other people.”

LinkedIn finds past and present classmates, helps you discover inside connections when looking for a new job and employs industry experts that are willing to share advice.

And as for the junk food of the Internet, Facebook and whatnot, well, there’s always those privacy options.

Taking simple steps to clean up online profiles up to employer-friendly status can only be an advantage for students.

Paula Michaeldass, career counselor for undecided and undeclared majors, spouted off some helpful tips on cleaning up your social networking profile so as not to terrify or turn off prospective employers.

“Read through your own page,” Michaeldass said. “Make sure everything is appropriate including which e-mail address you list. Employers look at what your friends put on your page — a comment they make could really hurt you. It may contradict things you might have said during an interview so limit what you say.”