While Employers are discovering the benefits of using social media sites in their businesses, college students (the early adopters) are apparently shying away from them (at least they seem to be in their job searches).
As employers and recruiters are still discovering the remarkableness of sites like Twitter and Facebook, college students who were mainly using these sites as an avenue to share news, pictures, and the funniest video from last week’s frat party, are staying one step ahead of potential employers as these soon to be grads start searching for jobs.
More than 45 percent of employers and recruiters use Facebook or Twitter to screen job candidates, but college students are smart and are censoring their Facebook pages and their tweets.
No, we’re not saying that they’re no longer posting hilarious videos and have instead converted all of their posts and tweets to be employer friendly—no, these soon to be graduates are simply changing their names.
No, not legally. They’re either purposely misspelling part of their name or using a variation of their name (i.e. using their middle name as their last name) in order to keep employers from finding them on social sites.
A recent survey that was commission by Beyond.com and conducted by students of the Wharton Small Business Development Center asked college students if they were concerned that potential employers may discover their personal information on social networking sites. And 51% said yes. Which is a shame given that these sites were originally designed to be used in a social setting (hence the name social).
As a job seeker, if you have a Facebook or Twitter account, just be aware that there are potential employers out there scouring the internet trying to learn more about you. If you want to be sure that they’ll only view you as a professional, there are a few options for you to consider:
- Change your social media accounts to be employer friendly.
- Change your name (be sure if you have a vanity URL, that you change that as well if your URL previously contained your name).
- Change your privacy settings to ensure only your friends can access your pages.
- Do something drastic and cancel your Facebook and Twitter accounts all together.
- Use a service like Reputation Defender to help you clean up what’s been posted on the internet about you.
- Create a LinkedIn profile and promote it on your resume. There are also other professional sites out there to market yourself to employers.