Online networks such as Facebook and MySpace are becoming tools for companies to examine job applicants, said a member of University Career Services.”It’s becoming more common for both employers and employees to be using these programs,” said Chuck Dunning, associate director of career development. “And more employers want to get involved in the networking of these sites.”
With an online profile, there is a risk of your information being seen on a global scale, said Ann Reynolds, director of Career Services.
Last summer, Reynolds said, she attended the Southwest Association of Colleges and Employers Conference where the dangers and benefits of these networking Web sites were discussed.
Reynolds said online profiles and blogs can be dangerous when students post material that might reflect poorly on themselves.
In addition to these social networking Web sites, personal Web pages draw attention from prospective employers as well, Reynolds said.
“If an employer sees something they don’t want to find, it can influence their opinion,” Reynolds said.
An online profile one wants a business to see should be similar to a resume, Dunning said.
“You should not put pictures, your age or political and religious affiliations in a resume,” Dunning said.
Though Facebook allows users to post pictures and political or religious views, users have the option of whether to make this information known, according to Facebook.com.
Students say they are aware employers and bosses can find information online through these profile sites.
“I think it’s funny,” said Scott Newell, a freshman political science major. “My boss at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park was 22 years old, and she would go and look at pictures of us doing some bad stuff.”
Larry Covin, a junior economics major, said he understands the Internet is a public forum, so students are aware of the possibility of people finding their information and pictures online.
“If you put your stuff on the Internet, it is going to be open for everyone,” Covin said.
Privacy settings for both Facebook and MySpace are available to users so only certain people can view a profile, according to the Web sites.
To show off your profiles in a professional manner, the information should be made public, Dunning said. If somebody wants to keep personal information shared among friends, one could use a private profile.
Search engines such as Google enable people to find a variety of information about a person based on a quick name search, Dunning said.
Reynolds said she uses both Facebook and MySpace accounts, and said the privacy settings could be used in a two-fold method.
“You could use one profile for fun that just your friends and those close to you could see, and you could have one profile that is serious that you wouldn’t mind businesses seeing,” Reynolds said.
Dunning said he understands the vast power of the Internet and the millions of users who use it each day.
“If you have a public account, it’s like a billboard,” Dunning said. “If you put it up, it is your responsibility for what people will see on it.