Adelphi part-time faculty member warns students and recent graduates about posting too much information on social networking sites.
by Jordan Chapman
According to a recent study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), about 95 percent of students graduating in 2012 have a profile on social networks. That’s a lot of insecure information.
When it comes to the job search after college, Mark Fogel, part-time faculty member at Adelphi and chief human resources officer at the Marcum Group, said students should be more wary of the kind of content they upload to social networking sites.
“There is such a thing as an online reputation, and it’s either good or bad,” Mr. Fogel said. “The biggest thing students need to know: Anything you do that goes on the Internet, it’s there forever.”
In other words, when recent graduates who had a couple of wild nights during their student years begin to delete posts and pictures from social networking sites, the information isn’t gone. Secondary and third party websites can access and store information and pictures for their own uses.
In case it still isn’t clear, “If you post pictures of yourself or something inappropriate, people can find it,” Mr. Fogel said, waving off the legalities and rules recruiters and employers must abide by when it comes to searching out candidates on Facebook or Twitter.
Bottom line—there are ways around the red tape.
“Recruiters are on the Internet all day long,” Mr. Fogel said, citing it as reason enough for how they find a candidate’s pictures and perhaps discover the interesting antics those candidates chose to display.
The two most common mistakes in privacy protection are the most obvious. “You go in your interview and you have your profile blocked, but what if the recruiter knows someone who you’re friends with,” Mr. Fogel asked. “These websites are tools for instant feedback. After an interview, if you post on Twitter how much you hated the interview, they can see that,” he continued, explaining that, unlike Facebook, employers don’t need permission to follow you on Twitter.
NACE reports that about 71 percent of graduates today expect employers to look at their profiles, while only 39 percent think that’s okay.
Okay or not, if future employers are looking at the digital you, it’s time to look professional. According to Mr. Fogel, the best way to look good online is to create a LinkedIn account.
“LinkedIn is basically a short résumé. Join groups, put down what clubs you belong to, the community service you’ve completed and hyperlink to as many positive things as you can,” he said, suggesting students Google Image themselves to ensure they don’t produce results and, if they do, that it’s only in a positive way.
“When it comes to the Internet, if you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t say anything at all,” Mr. Fogel said.
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