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Social Networking Can Cost Students Big in the Job Market

Online social networking took off with the advent of MySpace and Facebook. Who would have guessed hiring managers are checking out profiles and thinking twice about candidates. Here's what you can do.

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Think about this scenario: you are nearing your college graduation and are positioning yourself to enter the workforce. You stumble on a great opportunity and apply. After you submit your resume and pull off a smoking interview, you think the job's in the bag. Later that day, the human resources professional decides to look you up online. A quick Google search pulls up nothing negative and maybe even a newspaper clip of your college sports highlights. Next the manager decides to log onto, Myspace.com, just to double check everything. And there you are, beer in hand, rocking the night away. The pictures aren't so bad, hey, everybody has a little fun. But the conversations, ohh the conversations. Next candidate please.

That situation is not so crazy, and the airwaves have been filled with examples of students who lost out big. Here's what you can do.

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Disguise Yourself

Avoid creating a profile that can easily identify yourself to a HR professional. This includes first and last name, addresses, phone numbers and the e-mail address that you gave your potential place of employment. A good idea: when you create your MySpace profile, simultaneously create a new web based e-mail account to use only for your social networking needs. Do this because if HR wants to search for you on MySpace, your email address is a quick way to narrow results.

Delete

Before you get too deep in the hiring process, delete everything incriminating from your profile. This includes comments that would be considered questionable, incriminating pictures and even those nasty blogs on your political opinion. For a HR professional, a clean social networking profile might be even better than no profile at all. Think breath of fresh air. One area of trouble you might stumble on is your friends. A friends profile might be less than sanitary, so think about moving those out of the 'top 8.' Also, if push comes to shove, just think about deleting the whole account all together and starting over in a couple weeks.

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