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Class to focus on using Facebook wisely

A new Career Development Center workshop will help students polish their online image, focusing on popular social networking Web sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

“Students have a sense that their social life is separate from their career life,” said Erin Jennings, career counselor/peer assistant coordinator for the CDC. “Unfortunately, that’s not how the Internet works.”

Jennings and career counselor Brandy Wilson have organized two Oct. 29 seminars designed to help students make good choices about what does — and does not — go into their Facebook and MySpace pages.

The CDC has begun to use Facebook as a way to market its activities to students, Jennings said, and it’s clear many firms that recruit on campus are using the sites to learn more about job candidates.

“What we’re hoping to do is ask for volunteers to bring up their page and talk about what do you want an employer to see and what don’t you want them to see,” Jennings said.

The sites offer users space to connect with friends and meet new people. There are ways to post photos, join groups based on shared interests and search by name. Many users also respond to a basic series of questions that results in a profile that includes details about political preferences, religion and other information that wouldn’t come up on a job interview.

“How do you employment-proof your page?” Jennings asked. “The first thing I would say is: Consider what pictures you’ve posted.”

While students may be savvy enough to avoid posting a photo featuring a beer can, for instance, a party photo that attracts inappropriate comments from friends can do just as much damage.

Jennings stressed that these sites offer opportunities as well as potential stumbling blocks. Students can indicate subjects that interest them, community service they’ve done and groups such as fraternities and sororities that they’ve joined. Those areas offer recruiters a chance to connect with job-seekers on a more personal level.

Ultimately, the CDC wants students to be aware that these sites may play a role in how a future employer will see them. Once they understand that, Jennings said, they should take an interest in reading through their pages regularly and making sure items don’t interfere with their professional aspirations.

If You Go

Facebook and MySpace the Right Way will be offered at two times on Monday, Oct. 29. A session from 4-4:30 p.m. will be held in LSG-500 (the Career Development Center); one from 7-7:30 p.m. will meet in UU-133.


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Last Updated: 10/14/08