May 14, 2010 11:03 AM by Ariel Wesler
To say social networking is popular is an understatement. Facebook has 400 million users and if it were a country, it would be the world's 4th largest. These days, it's also a world filled with people who could potentially access your personal information. Many are employers. . .just one click away from standing between you and that dream job.
Sleeping on the job got this man fired from Fusion Contact Centers. This picture made its way to his Facebook page, and he was sent packing.
"We have a group of people that just do monitoring on the facebook application," said Ryan Romero with Fusion Contact Centers.
But in this competitive economy, more employers are also using the social networking giant to screen people before deciding whether to hire them.
"One in three employees or executive candidates for a fortune 500 company are excluded because of you know things that are found derogatory things that are found on their social networking sites," said Wendi Patterson with United Staffing Associates, a local employment agency.
Experts say keep your page free of sexual exploits, drunken pictures, and all around inappropriate material. Also, make sure your friends do the same.
"It's easy for me to see just by looking at their page what kind of person they are and who their friends are. Maybe we have mutual friends too," said Brian Englund.
He's a small business owner who operates Sylvester's Burgers in Atascadero. He says he sees Facebook as an added tool.
According to the AOL Technology Blog, Switched.com, 78 percent of recruiters and HR professionals use search engines to research applicants. 63 percent use social networking sites, and 59 percent turn to photo and video sharing sites like YouTube or Flickr.
Experts suggest researching yourself. Type your name into a search engine like Google and see what comes up.
"I try and keep my things honestly a little bit positive and consciously make an effort not to put, "oh my day was really crappy today. I suck. I hate life, said Jeffrey Simonson, a student at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria.
Simonson monitors his page, but says there is a balance. He also likes to express himself and if that turns away an employer, he says he probably wouldn't want to work there.
"I don't want to put on a façade. I think you have to be yourself and if you're not yourself, then why even get hired," Simonson said.
"Put yourself out there as far as your personality goes but refrain from putting it all out there," Patterson said.
So as more employers encourage applicants to
"Check out our Facebook page."
Keep a close eye on yours.
Facebook has taken some heat for the way it handles user privacy. All users interests are now public. In response, Facebook simply says, "If you're not comfortable sharing, don't."
Facebook announced today it is rolling out some new security features to address privacy concerns. Among other features, users can now be notified if their account is accessed from a new computer or mobile device.
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