Career Counselor Katie Mantooth types her name into Google and waits the .20 seconds it takes to find more than 110,000 results.
Today’s employers do the exact same search when looking at potential hires, said Mantooth, who hopes students are prepared to have their names run through a search engine.
“A lot of employers and human resource people are looking (at social media sites),” Mantooth said. “Whether or not you want (your accounts) to be a part of your job search, it is.”
Social media may be one way to connect with friends or share photos, but organizational communications professor Greg Wurth from Paducah, Ky., agrees it is becoming a more prominent factor in job searches from an employer standpoint.
“To get let go from a job (because of social media) you have to break a rule significantly,” Wurth, said, “But just a little inconsistency between your Facebook page and their values could prevent you from getting a job.”
The search into individual’s social media sites is not solely for finding inconsistencies.
Many employers use Facebook to look for personal skills.
“They’re looking for your communication skills,” Wurth said. “They’re looking at how you type, how you use grammar, how you formulate your sentences. They’re making sure you can accurately communicate.”
Mantooth explains the importance of making sure you actually show up at the top of an Internet search, rather than someone with the same name.
“Even though I have a pretty unique last name, there are others named Katie Mantooth,” she said, “I want to have a presence (on social media) that trumps any psycho, trashy looking ‘Katie Mantooth,’ and there is a strategy for doing that. You can gain some respect before they’ve even met you. It’s like a pseudo-interview. Whether you want it to or not, you can choose to do it purposefully, or you can live in denial.”
Having a professional presence on social media does not mean deleting the old Facebook and only connecting professionally.
“I have two Facebook profiles, so if students decide, ‘I want to be able to ask that career counselor quick questions on Facebook,’ I have a Facebook presence. Then I also have a personal Facebook, so my college friends can find me and we can encourage each other in life,” Mantooth said.
She explained the possibility of selecting what you want to appear when a potential employer does a search.
“It’s called professional branding and you can do it very purposefully and it can be really effective,” Mantooth said. “Google yourself and find out what happens, you can even set up a Google alert that will let you know if your name has been posted. Then edit any existing place that is social media—its not just Facebook and Twitter. I don’t necessarily recommend lock down—meaning your name doesn’t come up in a search—because I think that sometimes looks sketchy, but make the page they see, the image and the about you information, relevant to your job search.”
Story by Maddie Mucci, Staff writer