Clean up your act

It’s that time of year for upperclassmen.  Seniors are stressing about post -graduation plans and juniors are stressing to find an internship (in hopes of actually being hired after graduation).  Around this time every year I notice it suddenly becomes much more difficult to identify my Facebook friends or even view their profiles.  They change their names to hide from future employers or delete every existing picture they have.  Just yesterday my roommate’s mother called her saying her firm was searching through a potential intern’s Facebook profile and was appalled at what they found.  After a very confrontational interview, the interviewee admitted although inappropriate, he was under the impression that his profile was private – meaning that employers didn’t have access to his photos.

After hearing this, I obviously became concerned for my own image on social media.  Yes, I have written about starting fresh on Twitter out of new interests – but Facebook is different. I don’t want to delete old memories with high school friends, I just don’t want employers to see them. I’m a firm advocate of internet users electronically signing an agreement contract, essentially handing over all shared information with the general public.  But to play devil’s advocate, are we under the assumption that social media sites, like Facebook, are giving us a false sense of privacy? Are our “private” profiles really private?

Based on my findings it seems to be a common trend for employers to ask interviewees to log onto their Facebooks during an interview.  In this case, no matter how many privacy settings are in place, your profile is in full view and essentially determining your chance of being hired. The debate as to whether this is fair or unfair will be saved for another time but should resonate with all of us during our application process. There is a distinct line between inappropriate content and unprofessional content. There may be certain photos, posts, etc that I wouldn’t want to share with my boss, but that may not necessarily be inappropriate.  Our generation must be careful when determining what to post and who views it – it could cost you a job down the road.

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