When it comes to the pilgrimage from the campus to the salary, there is one vital piece of paper that potential employers ask for: a resume. The format is familiar, with contact information, education history and a concise yet powerful summary of paramount experience. But, professionals are now looking beyond the interviews and curriculum vitae to get a better idea of who they are hiring.

Social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook allow individuals to publicly express themselves and share information to the masses. But according to Forbes magazine, CareerBuilder.com found that two in five companies use social media to screen potential employees. Sixty-five percent of those who do so said they want to see if the job seeker presents him or herself professionally, while 45 percent want to know more about the person’s qualifications. Some even said they do so “to look for reasons not to hire the candidate.” This is a trend that Associate Director of Academic and Career Advising, Kelly Graham, discusses with students at Keene State College.

“We talk about the importance of social media, using it professionally and in which ways you need to be careful so it doesn’t hinder somebody’s job or internship opportunities,” she said.

“I think your social media accounts do show a lot about you,” freshman Jessica Markarian said, “So I don’t think it’s bad that they look at it. But I think that your social life and your business life are kind of two separate things, so it shouldn’t make or break if you get a job or not.”

Some argue the legality of the extended search, but Graham said, “Whether it’s right or wrong, it’s happening.”

On the other end, many businesses and professionals are not using social media for the sole purpose of screening applicants. They are promoting their organizations and reaching out to students too, according to Graham.

Freshman Gretchen Faulstich said in that case, she would make a separate, more work-oriented account to interact with those professionals.

Junior Mynam Huynh said he is aware of what he posts, and has Facebook and Twitter accounts that are both public.

“You have to be aware that you are posting something that’s visible to everyone and they’re going to have different opinions about you whether it’s true or not,” Huynh added.

“If you post pictures of you being intoxicated and doing stupid stuff, it just kind of makes you look, in a sense, like you’re irresponsible.”

Faulstich agreed to a certain extent, stating that if “you do certain things, that doesn’t mean you’re not going to be capable of working a job.” Huynh said he believes the interview should be the foundation of the employer’s decision. Huynh also said that if employers want to connect, they should do so by using LinkedIn, a social media outlet developed for professional use.

If job-seekers are afraid of what potential employers will find, Graham suggested a few options.

“They should always be Googling or searching themselves to see what employers will find. I suggest that they constantly update and check their security settings, especially on Facebook. Facebook privacy settings seem to change monthly,” she said.

She also added if there’s something that people don’t want somebody to see, they shouldn’t put it online. “Even with the best security settings, there are ways people can get access to information you have posted,” Graham said.

But one of the best things a candidate can do with their online presence is promote their work and “brand.” Graham added, “Social media is part of that. Whether it is LinkedIn or Instagram or a blog or a portfolio, it’s really a way for a student to kind of give a little bit of their personality and who they are as they’re approaching their professional lives.”


Kattey Ortiz can be contacted at  kortiz@keene-equinox.com

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