Clean social media accounts could lead to jobs

Taylor Williams

Ryan McNaughton, a Kent State Career Counselor, said according to a recent survey more than 90 percent of employers say the first thing they do upon receiving a resume is Google the name of the potential employee.

While these employers are often looking for what type of social media activity is present, McNaughton says students “should be smart about what they are sharing.”

Students have the ability to filter what they are posting to the public, and McNaughton said sometimes those filters can be friends and family members on social networks.

“I have relatives, as well as organizational/community peers as friends on Facebook, so I’m not as tempted to post stuff that might tarnish my image,” said Kent Kirker, junior middle childhood education major.

Other students only worry about their image on certain networks.

“My Twitter is more free –- a little more cursing and more personality,” said junior psychology major Amelia Skidmore in comparison to the appropriateness of her Facebook account.

Growing up in a world of technology, college-aged students almost expect all information to be shared online and often “long-term goals are not always on their minds when they post,” McNaughton said.

Sometimes students may “think their account is private” but in reality a lot of “friends of friends” have access to their posts, photos and information, said Kent State journalism professor Stefanie Moore.

She said she thinks more people need to be educated on social media and privacy.

“Something as simple as being negative on social media can discourage employers,” Moore said, but if used in the right way, social media can be used to network and open new opportunities for students.

Moore said engaging in social media should be “light, bright and polite” referring to Josh Ocsh’s book of the same name, which is full of tactical tips for using social media.

Not only are accounts for social use, but they should also be a representation of who you are, Moore said.

“I don’t feel ashamed talking about whatever I want,” Skidmore said. “I think I know the boundary -– what to do and what not to do.”

Students are always advised to update privacy settings on a regular basis, McNaughton said. Not only for employment reasons but also for safety reasons. Strangers have a chance to access your information as well.

“Before I knew how dangerous it could be, I had my profile public and I had a complete stranger stalk me,” Skidmore said.

Moore said this business of over-sharing always has a chance to come back and harm users.

Kirker said while he believes everyone is entitled to his or her own privacy, it is up to each individual to decide how much information he or she is willing to share.

McNaughton said he hopes people take the implications of social media seriously.

“Seventy percent of employers have rejected a candidate based on something they saw on social media,” McNaughton said.

Contact Taylor Williams at [email protected].