Students can jeopardize employment over inapropriate Facebook behavior
President Barrack Obama and countless of celebrities have one. You network with friends and family through it. However, among the circle of your Facebook page visitors, there might be another member lurking through your profile you might feel uncertain about, your boss (or future boss in certain cases).
As thousands of students across the nation turn the tassel and graduate with degrees in hand this spring, many will seek employment. Others will be scavenging for summer jobs to comply with tuition costs and other necessities.
Before handing out an application and heading out to an interview, experts like Monica Mcgunthrie, peer educator at the CSUN career center, say there is a high chance employers will be investigating sites registered under the applicants’ names. They said students should take this into account and “clean up” their profiles.
“You shouldn’t have damaging stuff on your Facebook,” Mcgunthrie said. “Sooner or later it gets out.”
Users like, Anazarry Danganan, 24, have opted to create two separate accounts, one for the workplace and the other for friends and family.
“I’m not hiding anything, or who I am, I’m just keeping it professional,” the journalism major said. “Casually talking at home is different from talking at work. You adjust yourself to everything that should be applied to social media.”
In her professional account she shares news stories, wisdom quotes, items related to her career and rarely some personal information.
She feels strongly against announcing her whereabouts (like restaurants or other locations), a new sensation that floods new feeds on Facebook, usually with mobile device applications like FourSquare.
Experts advise people to create two separate profiles when it comes down to filtering social media content.
A recent study, conducted by Dr. Larry Chiagouris of Pace University in New York, shows that about 75 percent of college students ruin their chances in obtaining a job because of inappropriate content on their personal Facebook pages.
According to research results, more male students post “Facebook faux pas” compared to female students.
Other organizations have also noticed employment trends within social networking.
Leonel Fuentes, program director at Work Source, a California employment agency, decided to implement a workshop regarding social media to teach beneficiaries the do’s and don’ts of cyberspace.
He said he understands how popular Facebook is, especially among college students and other young employees, thus they should beware of their posts.
“Facebook is a new field,” he said. “People have lost jobs because of what they put on Facebook.”
Mike, who has chosen not to reveal his full name, is a project manager at a warehouse company who has had to fire employees because they revealed their relationship on their Facebook pages.
“I was on my Facebook when I saw a picture of my two employees kissing,” Mike said.
The company, like many others, does not allow internal relationships within the workplace.
Mike said the company usually does not check their employees’ Facebook pages but the photograph casually appeared on his newsfeed.
“They have the right of privacy,” the manager said. “All they have to do is block their superiors. I do it. I don’t accept my boss’s (friend) request.”
Facebook is not the only social networking site that is under the microscope. Employers also check websites like Twitter and Linked In and research shows more companies are going online to hire.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 56 percent of employers use social networking sites in their search for fitting applicants, and another 20 percent said they plan to go that route in the near future.
“Students should create a professional account to use as a networking tool and finding companies,” McGuthrie said.
Personal pages orientated for friends and family should be under a distinct name.
“Be smart,” McGuthrie said. “Everyone knows wearing short shorts is not good to have on your account. Keep it professional.”
Facebook usually updates their privacy settings as well as their profile features.
Fuentes advices to frequently visit your own Facebook and Twitter pages to check up on what content is available to the public. He also said accounts that are open for everyone or “searchable” should be taken into consideration for privacy.
Although junior Holly Allene Kerker, 21, has never posted any indecent photographs or controversial comments on her page, at one point during her employment, her boss took their professional relationship on Facebook to a whole other level.
She said her boss would always check her Facebook page and bring up her (Kerker’s) posts in the workplace. Most of the time it was personal comments or experiences she shared.
“She always picked on me in public and it was a lot,” Kerker said. “It got to a point where I would cry before work, at work, and after because I was so emotionally drained from that job.”
Although reluctant at first, Kerker eventually quit, despite the stable salary.
“I felt like my personal page was definitely invaded,” she relates. “I felt like part of my life was taken away.”
Her advice to everyone was to “keep your Facebook private and don’t add your boss.”