It’s not even noon yet, and Hillary McKenna a senior majoring in journalism, is not only trying to finish her reading and get ready for work, but she is checking her MySpace messages simultaneously on her Sidekick.
“I’m on MySpace constantly,” McKenna said. “It helps me plan out my day or tells me what’s going on for the weekend just by reading what my friend’s post.
MySpace.com is the popular Website that offers users a variety of ways to network and create and build personal profiles with music, photos and blogs.
But as students enter the job market, employers may frown upon what some students post.
Manuel Perez, director of the Career Development Center at Cal State Long Beach said that students who choose to have these profiles should be aware that employers are perusing these sites on a regular basis.
“As students are searching for jobs, we caution them on what they are currently posting on their MySpace/Facebook profiles,” Perez said. “Students have to remember that the Internet is a public forum and they cannot fault companies for conducting these background checks on the Internet.”
Perez said that the background checks conducted on the internet are not just limited to certain companies either.
“All types of private companies and government agencies are conducting searches to see what applicants are posting on their profiles,” Perez said.
Kaony Huon, a business management student, sai when he first started blogging and posting pictures on his MySpace profile, he did not think about how much exposure the site actually gets, but now he is more aware.
“I am cautious what I post on my profile,” Huon said. “I care not only because employer’s are looking, but also because my younger nieces and nephew’s have accounts and I don’t want to portray myself in a bad light. Your MySpace says a lot about you.”
“I know students who are graduating that have completely changed their profiles from social party goer to bookworm,” McKenna said. “They know that employers are searching their profiles, so they change it to what the employer would want to see.
Nick D’Ambrosio, president of Firstround Search, a recruiting firm that also offers coaching services for new graduates, said applicants should be aware that if they have questionable items on their profile, they could be giving employers a reason why not to hire them.
“I’ve been placing applicants in top executive positions for over 12 years now. Employers are looking for a reason why they shouldn’t hire or even interview a candidate,” D’Ambrosio said. “Employers look through hundreds of resumes and it’s a tedious process. They want to find the best to interview so their time is not wasted and neither is yours.”
Some students said it is unfair that employers are basing their hiring decisions on an applicant’s social profile that is based on their personal life, not their professional life.
“I think how someone conducts their personal life should not be a reflection of how they behave professionally,” McKenna said. “I think it’s somewhat unfair that employer’s are using MySpace for background checks on applicants.”
According to D’Ambrosio, an applicant’s personal life has a lot to do with their professional life.
“Companies are looking to hire applicants that are smart, bright and coachable,” D’Ambrosio said. “If they are searching through MySpace/Facebook profiles and find something that discredits you, you most likely won’t get your foot in the door.”
For students like McKenna, the transition from college life to career life won’t make too much of a difference.
“I will definitely continue to keep my profile after college,” McKenna said. “It’s how I stay connected. I don’t post anything inappropriate so I’m not too worried. But my profile is also set to private kept only for the purposes of staying in contact with those on my buddy lists.”