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Beware the debauchery: Big business is watching social media sites

Photos courtesy of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Social media — a phrase that is often associated with the means by which your best friend posts pictures recounting a weekend filled with debauchery — has now become a leading tool for college graduates to distinguish themselves from the growing population of those searching desperately for a job in this turbulent economy.

The most obvious and preferred social media platforms available to college graduates are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

These social media tools — typically used for personal gratification — are self-branding weapons that graduates can arm themselves with, and they give graduates the opportunity to meet professionals within their particular field of interest.

Lisa Sipes, an academic adviser for Ohio State’s School of Communication, said social media sites can be useful in connecting with professionals in the field that graduates are planning on entering.

“Many students have the responsibility of managing social media accounts during their internships,” Sipes said. “Having a working knowledge of social media proves to be very important for the success of students seeking jobs in communication and journalism.”

According to LinkedIn’s website, more than 40 percent of Fortune 100 companies are using LinkedIn’s recruiting solutions tool to source and hire their candidates.

Charissa Davis, a human resources professional at Limited Brands and OSU psychology graduate, said she wouldn’t be where she was today if it wasn’t for the time she dedicated to branding herself.

“LinkedIn played a key role in developing my career,” Davis said. “The Limited was able to find my profile by matching their job requirements with my experience and developmental interests, and that is how they recruited me. It’s all about finding your big break and making it happen. Construct your personal brand by creating profiles and actually utilizing them. Use social media to find networking events, attend them, and meet everyone that you can.”

Although one must not forget that social media can be a double-edged sword. There must be the mindset that everyone, including potential employers, can see what content in posted. Users are creating a brand all the time.

Randy Carey, a fourth-year in political science, said college is a time for students to prepare to enter the professional world, but it’s also a time for students to enjoy their independence as young adults and have fun.

“Unfortunately, a lot of that fun that should probably be kept behind closed doors is made public on Facebook and available to ambitious and selective employers,” Carey said. “Most college students don’t exercise the foresight that would deter them from jeopardizing their reputation like that. A lack of discretion in using these sites can eliminate promising job opportunities. That’s not what we want for students entering an unstable job market with an increasing amount of loan debt.”

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