Living in the era of Facebook and other socializing websites has been a great benefit for us all. We’re able to communicate with friends and relatives across the world, through wall-posts and messaging pictures to one another. But, this has also created a problem for the youth. Now our Facebook profiles can determine if we get your dream job, or wind up rejected, even with a flawless résumé.
Look through your Facebook pictures. What are you holding in your right hand in that packed townhouse? Is it a beer or a red Solo cup filled with God-knows-what?
We have all heard it before, but how many of us really listen? Professors, parents, and counselors have told us all to take down pictures of us drinking and making bad decisions on our Friday nights. We have been told to not post pictures of us in our bathing suits, short dresses, or shirts with offensive writing. Some people take this so far as to “blur” out the Natty Ice in their hand, to somehow hide the fact that you like to drink in your spare time at college.
But let us face it. People write things. People post things. It seems like it is unavoidable sometimes. What are we supposed to do, get rid of our Facebook pages? Get real. What would I do with my time, actually do my homework without anything to procrastinate to?
This is the 21st century. Employers are now looking at new ways to process job applications, trying to give personalities to the résumé that are placed in front of them. Since there are so many young men and women looking for jobs out of college and graduate school, taking a look at a Facebook profile might make an applicant more or less eligible for a job.
Many students have even gone so far to change their Facebook profile names to try and make themselves unsearchable by an employee. This is a common misconception, because a profile can also be searched by location, college, high school, or email address. I am sure you have seen it all before. Friends are changing their names from John Smith to the new and improved “Sohn Jmith”. You are not fooling anyone. If an employer or interviewer wants to find you, they will find you. Scary, huh?
A Michigan State University junior, Justin Gawel, was interviewed by CNN in 2010 about his Facebook page. Like many other college students, he changed his profile name to “Dustin Jawel” to try and steer away potential employers for future jobs.
Gawel says that it is virtually impossible to remove everything that may be offensive or hurt his chance for a job. He says, “Too many people take pictures of you. I didn’t want to go through and ‘un-tag’ all of them … People do not take pictures of people studying or doing school work. They take pictures of people at parties and doing silly things.”
CNN also reviewed a Microsoft survey of U.S. hiring managers today. Microsoft’s results were that 79 percent of these managers have used websites such as Facebook to better process prospective employees. These managers are looking for information that could be classified as “inappropriate” and “unsuitable” comments and pictures of the applicant. Managers are also looking for criticism of past and current employers, along with posts from friends and relatives.
Having a Facebook page as a college student appears to be essential. Unfortunately, the innovative technologies of today have placed a hawk, which lurks over our shoulders as we type to our friends, drunk at 3:00 a.m. Be wary of what you post.
That Solo cup could be the end of your dream of working for one of The Big Four, or just a summer job at a department store.