12 On Your SIde: Employers, colleges searching social media

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, March 9, 2012

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. -- Social media plays a large part in our lives: from connecting with old friends and sharing photos to playing games and even spying on an ex. Now it's also a tool your future employer, school or even scholarship provider may use to take a closer look at the real you.

Robin Kronberg, a senior at USC Aiken, is already starting her job search. Part of the process, she says, is also searching herself online.

"I've actually Googled myself a few times and said, 'OK, what are they going to see?'"

Kronberg is working to protect her online image.

"If you say I work for this company, then people are going to say, 'Well, what kind of image are you going to portray for that company?'" she said.

Corey Feraldi, director of Career Services at USC Aiken, is teaching students like her to be careful what they put on social media websites.

"One of the ones that you hear the most is like an inappropriate photo and students might go to a social gathering or party and one of the first things they do is upload some pictures from the party," he said.

Feraldi says most employers now use social media to scan job candidates. Something as simple as picture or a comment on one could make or break a job candidate.

"A lot things about character and ability make that fit and social media is where they can get that information about a candidate," he said.

A new survey also shows about a quarter of scholarship providers use social media to review candidates. MSNBC also reports a growing trend of employers and colleges asking candidates for their Facebook password.

Feraldi says the rule thumb is to never post something you would not want your mother to see. The biggest offenders are inappropriate photos and information and content about drinking and drug use.

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