Students should use caution with social media

Students should use caution with social media

Media Contact

College Director of Communications
417.447.2655 publicinfo@otc.edu
Steve Koehler
Coordinator of Publications (417) 447-2666 koehlers@otc.edu

By Steve Koehler

For college students using social-networking sites as job-hunting sources can be a blessing for most and a curse for some, according to experts at Ozarks Technical Community College’s Career Employment Services Center.

Kathy Christy, director of Career Employment Services at OTC, said that on the plus side, social networking sites can help job-hunters identify contacts who, in turn, may know people at the companies for whom a person wants to work.

However, those job hunters who have a tendency to use their personal Web sites on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn for posting, what Christy calls, “digital dirt,” could end up being turned down for a position based on what an employer finds online.

“Some of the employers we talk to check an applicant’s Web site or search for one. It depends on the business. If the business already uses those tools, they check an applicant. More and more employers are using that as an avenue to check an applicant. It’s a trend we’re seeing. It’s a hot topic in career services,” Christy said.

The OTC center staff offers some advice and tips on policing your personal Web site and how to make it work to one’s advantage.

• Update your online professional profile on a regular basis.

• Be aware of how you will be perceived by other business people in your online social network.

• Post content relevant to your job search with a description of who you are and what you do.

• Don’t post controversial content on your profile that would damage your reputation or that a prospective employer might read.

• Don’t mention your job search if you’re still employed and want to keep your search below the radar screen.

•Don’t forget about the real world.

Most important, Christy said, “if you have any digital dirt, get rid of it.”

The OTC Career Employment Services office is available at 447-6964

Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications for Ozarks Technical Community College.