Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Job-hunting college grads may require extreme social networking makeover

Is your online identity hurting your job search?

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Congratulations, graduates. You’ve been out of school for a bit now and, if you haven’t yet lined up an internship or a job, you’re frantically looking. You have all of your ducks in a row: résumé, references, portfolio, etc. However, what you’ve neglected to do is take down those keg stand pictures you have up on your public Facebook page.

Will this keep you from getting a job? Maybe.

According to a survey conducted late last year by CareerBuilder.com, more than one in five employers search social networking sites to screen potential hires. And, if your social network presence isn’t in tiptop condition, it might hinder you from getting the job of your dreams in an already tough market.

CDW, a provider of technology products and services, is one such company that seriously considers the social network presence of all hires. After a slow-down in hiring earlier this year, the company re-focused its recruitment efforts in the social networking realm and is steadily building a pipeline of talent by looking at Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to recruit college graduates seeking careers in IT, sales and/or engineering.

“More than 30 percent of CDW’s coworkers are made up of Gen Y, which means paying attention to social networking is critical to finding and retaining the right talent,” said Charles Bretz, CDW senior recruiter. “Specifically, CDW is looking for candidates that have the same values as the company - respect for colleagues, customers, partners and communities as well as working everyday with passion and integrity. As such, social networking, as one of CDW’s main sources of sourcing talent, plays a large role in pairing down a large group of candidates to find the right ones for the job.”

For this reason, Bretz cautions job candidates and reminds them of the “grandmother rule of thumb” when it comes to social networking.

“If you would not want your grandmother to read or see it, then take it down,” he said. “Candidates who want to be considered seriously by CDW should have a professional profile on Facebook or Twitter and on LinkedIn they should have recommendations from past jobs, friends, etc., to illustrate their professional and personal commitment.”

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