MySpace and Your Job
In a job search, appearances matter. These days, that means not just how you look on paper or in an interview-it also includes how you look on the Internet. In November, a workshop hosted by Academic Computing and the Office of Career Counseling tackled how students' personal Web sites, blog posts, and pages on social networking sites like MySpace could hurt-or help-their job searches.
The Internet is a public resource, and many employers search for information on job candidates before deciding whom to call for an interview, said Angela Cherubini, director of career counseling. An embarrassing photo or angry rant about a current job could be a major turn-off.
And once that unappealing page is posted to the Internet, it doesn't really go away, even if it is deleted, explained Gary Ploski, assistant director of academic computing. Search engines keep a copy-called a cache-of everything posted to the Web. Deleted pages live on in cyberspace unless you specifically ask Google and the other search engines to remove them from their caches.
So what's a Web-savvy job seeker to do? First of all, think before you post. "Ask yourself, 'Would my mom be okay with this?'" said Ploski. He and Cherubini recommended using the privacy settings on social networking sites to restrict who can add you as a friend, make comments, or view your photos. Search for your name and your e-mail address to find out what a potential employer might be learning about you-and if you find anything that might raise eyebrows, take the time to have it removed from the search engines.
The good news is that your appearance on the Internet, properly groomed, can benefit a job search. A thoughtful personal Web page or blog can highlight extracurricular activities or demonstrate your involvement in a particular field.
"Your Internet presence becomes a kind of character reference-for better or worse," said Ploski.