Social Networking: Are you Prepared?

April 20th, 2009

Fact: There are over 14,000 profiles in the Facebook CofC Network.

Fact: MySpace is one of the most trafficked websites on the Internet.

Fact: Social Networking websites like Facebook and MySpace can be used against you during the hiring process.

There is one common denominator between college students world wide (though there are a few of you who will say Not Me!). That is social networking. I do not mean going out to parties or clubs and hanging out with friends. Social networking in today’s world means connecting socially through the Internet on “social network” websites. You talk with friends, leave ‘presents,’ post pictures and your views of the world around you all without leaving your computer. But have you thought about what those messages or pictures are saying about you? For example, the pictures of you dancing on top of a table at a local bar may not be the best image for a potential employer to see.

More and more employers are becoming connected to potential employees in the various social networking websites. They do ‘research’ on employees and may not hire you based on the impression they receive. But it does not end once you get the job. Just because employers are paying you, does not mean they are not checking up on you. Pictures or comments that are deemed unprofessional by your employer or potential employer can harm you.

Before the job search process (and after you get the job) think of a few simple things to combat a negative impression your employer may have toward you.

  • Make sure all of the pictures of you (both ones you post and others post) do not feature you being too unprofessional.
  • Do a Google search of yourself to see what appears. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
  • If you do have a Facebook or MySpace account you may want to set the privacy settings higher so only friends can view it.

For more tips and suggestions go to our Social Networking page. What are some other ways you can combat negative impressions based on your social networking pages? Do you have any horror stories about employers and these sites? Do you think employers should use social networking sites to check on present or future employees?

May 2009 graduates – there are jobs out there!

April 6th, 2009

If you listen to the news about the economy, you may come away with the idea that there are no jobs out there, so what is the point in looking? Actually, there are still job opportunities, but fewer of them. This means that there is more competition, and upcoming graduates must work harder and smarter in order to find the jobs available.

Here are tips for finding jobs in the current economy:

  • Don’t just look on major job sites on the internet for jobs!
    Since advertising on these sites costs money, and employers don’t want to be flooded with resumes, fewer jobs are being listed on the major internet job sites now.
  • Take every opportunity to make a personal connection to get leads on job possibilities, like talking to your roommate’s parents who live in a city of interest to you….or doing an informational interview with an alumnus of the College of Charleston working in a company you’re interested in but currently isn’t listing any openings. Leads can come from faculty, friends, acquaintances, your hairdresser, anyone!
  • Avoid casting your net too wide….don’t say you are interested in “anything” unless you really are! (And most of you aren’t! Would you flip hamburgers? Drive a delivery truck? No? Then you aren’t interested in anything.) Focus your search and your networking efforts on opportunities in which you are interested and for which you have some capabilities/qualifications.
  • Target your resume cover letter to match the job requirements and preferences of the vacancy.
    Research the company and the job to help you in personalizing your correspondence. This is critical in today’s job market!
  • Be prepared to start at a lower level than you had originally planned. Look for opportunities
    to get your foot in the door of organizations or companies that interest you. Take the opportunity to learn and to prove yourself, and to position yourself for promotional opportunities when they occur.
  • Realize that the process takes time, energy and effort.

A job search in the current economy is not for the faint of heart. And experts agree that “waiting it out” and doing nothing is the worst strategy, because it shows a lack of energy and interest in your career. At least if you are trying and making an effort, employers may appreciate that fact and consider you when they have an opening come available.

Check out this recent graduate’s job search success story and learn from his experience!