The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Opinion-Facebook hazardous to careers

Students don’t realize that everyone can view the content of their social networking Web sites like MySpace and Facebook.

A recent study by the Pew Research Center concluded that two-thirds of Americans age 18-29 use these sites.

Digital dirt, unfavorable information about people on the Internet, can hamper employment prospects and even harm their standing at the jobs they already have.

Employment recruiters frequently use search engines to uncover digital dirt on prospective employees. They utilize Web sites like Google.com, WhoZat.com and Wink.com to see who they are really interviewing.

Recruiters want to know how potential employees will represent the company, and employers have access to the same resources. So be careful even if you’re already gainfully employed.

Don’t fall prey to the practice of posting pictures that are not “grandma-friendly.”

Those half-naked photos of you double-fisting a couple of drinks over your last spring break will not impress the recruiters or your current boss.

Also, that blog you posted when you were 13 years old confessing your undying love for the Backstreet Boys may not be something you want floating around anymore.

A good general rule of thumb is if it’s not something that goes on your resume, don’t post it on the Internet.

Go to Google and type in your name in quotation marks. Look at the results. Next, click on Google images, rinse and repeat.

Don’t like what you see? Tough.

You can e-mail a Web site and request that it take down your digital dirt, but it is not required to take down anything.

If you have flaunted your indiscretions and worry about getting that dream job (or even the interview), start doing some damage control now.

Take down those imprudent photos, and ask friends to do the same. Start a PR blitz and sell yourself.

Blog about your professional interests and research you’ve done on topics that interest you. Give examples of your great qualities. Don’t just say you’re a multitasker. Give examples. Show those recruiters that you worked on Project A while researching Project B. They want to interview people who will be assets to the company.

Maybe you volunteer for Habitat for Humanity or the local shelter in your spare time. Post those photos. These days, more companies encourage their employees to get out in the community and contribute. When employees give back, it’s good for their reputation.

None of this will get rid of the Backstreet Boys love letters, but the more you post, the further back in the search results all of those old blog entries will be.

Once you’ve cleaned up your online image, keep it that way by setting up a Google alert for your name. Google will send an e-mail anytime it indexes a new page that features your name.

Don’t let your past come back to haunt you. Clean up your online persona, and keep it that way.

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