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The North Wind

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Katarina Rothhorn
Katarina Rothhorn

The first message I ever sent from my Northern Michigan University sanctioned email was to the editor-in-chief of the North Wind asking if there was any way I could join the staff. Classes hadn't even...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Campus Cinema hosts Barbenheimer double feature
Campus Cinema hosts 'Barbenheimer' double feature
Abigail FaixDecember 3, 2023

Websites affect employment

For students entering the job market, their social media identity and Internet presence is of importance to future employers.

“There is no question your social media profile will be viewed by a potential employer at some point during your career seeking process,” said Dwight Brady, professor of communications at NMU.

More than 80 percent of employers use social media to screen and recruit applicants, according to Brady. All that a potential employer knows about a candidate comes from their resume. To gain a better understanding of who a candidate is ,employers conduct further online research.

Many employers will simply Google search a candidate along with hometown and college, and from there, look at anything from Facebook profiles to Twitter accounts, Brady said.

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“An employer is making a substantial investment and is protecting that investment when hiring [by looking at online presence],” said Steve LaFond, assistant director of Career Services at NMU.

According to a 2009 Career Builder survey, over half of employers found inappropriate photographs or information on a candidate’s social media profiles. In addition, 44 percent of employers found content related to alcohol and drug use and 35 percent found content badmouthing previous employers and coworkers.

“While a less than flattering comment or picture you posted may raise an eyebrow, employers may also be evaluating your grammar skills or trying to see if you are as goal oriented as your résumé says you are,” Brady said.

Evidence of poor communication skills have been found in 29 percent of profiles looked at by employers, according to the 2009 Career Builder survey. These communication skills are seen in the ever increasingly casual communication on Facebook and Twitter.

With social media becoming more of a hub for venting and making spontaneous comments, LaFond urges students to be mindful of what is being shared.
“You really can’t take something back [that’s posted online],” LaFond said.

While the dirt found on candidates makes social media seem like a “no” for the professional world, making small changes in online presence can help create a better outlook for the job market.

According to recent research done by Jobvite, many employers are looking for personality and creativity, Brady said. If a candidate’s profile shows passion, strategic risk taking, and maturity without creating a fake identity, they have done themselves a favor.

In addition, keeping professional and private content separate from one another online will help a candidate, LaFond said.
“If anyone wants a career today, they need to have a presence on LinkedIn,” LaFond said.

Directing employers to professional networks like LinkedIn shows a more professional candidate with career-minded objectives, Brady said. Keep Facebook for personal use only.

Being aware of your own online presence is the most effective way to make yourself appear the most professional while online, LaFond said. He recommends searching yourself on Google often and keeping privacy screens on all social media.

Even though improving online presence can help potential employers see the true candidate, it is still a good idea to have a solid resume and cover letter, Brady said.

“Ultimately, you are in charge of your social media image, and your future may depend on how well you manage your profiles,” Brady said.

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