Job Seekers Beware: Bosses Are Looking At Your Social Media

Many people, especially college seniors about to graduate, are searching for a job.

What you may not realize is the bosses you apply to work for are searching for you online.

"A lot of employers are looking for them before they even do their first interview," said Patrick Roberts, a career counselor at ECU. "So it's right after the application that they're actually screening them online."

That screening includes social media, like Facebook and Twitter.

A survey released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers shows that 70% of employers use social media and more than half use it to find future employees.

"Using vulgar language, drug use, as well as excessive drinking, those are things that are just red flags, especially in career fields such as teaching," Roberts said.

We went to local schools and spoke with principals about what they watch out for when a teaching candidate applies.

"If they're intoxicated, if there's a video that shows them in a very compromising situation, then that's probably a red flag for me," said one principal.

Another said: "Here's the way I was taught: if you don't want your mother to see it, don't put it on there!"

But what about the posts from years and years ago, before the person knew the impact social media would have or that their profession might be a sensitive one? It might not be a deal breaker.

"Experiences that they've had as a high school student or as a student is something they'll talk about and say 'hey I've been out there before, I know what it's like to be caught up in this, and I came out of that.' So it can be a teaching tool," said Fredonia Stewart, Ridgewood Elementary Principal.

Some students we talked to said it never crossed their minds that Facebook and Twitter accounts could have this kind of impact.

"The second you send someone a resume, they're going to google you," said Callie Askenas, an ECU senior. "Something you posted in 8th grade is going to be on there, whether it's an embarrassing photo or something you posted on somebody's wall."

So keep it professional, the experts say, but personality is okay.

"Should you show the keg stand or the drinking excessively at the tailgate?" said Roberts. "Probably not, but you can still have pictures to show 'hey I'm a human being, I enjoy myself outside of work too.'"


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