Career Center, Development

One of the common conversations in higher education is that students need to be aware that their actions, and their documentation of their actions online, can come back to haunt them as they begin their job search. The Information Technology section of The Chronicle of Higher Education often features articles about the dangers of Facebook. Brock Read has authored several articles that call attention to how Facebook could endanger a students employment opportunities. This notion that Facebook is purely social and a space for your peers is increasingly being overturned as students realize employers, campus officials, and parents are welcome in the space as well. Part of this idealized notion of Facebook being only for students goes back to its inception as an exclusive college space, requiring an .edu email address to sign up. Since it has been open to the public, from September 26, 2006, this notion of “our space,” has slightly decreased.

This brings up the question of what can a career center do, and why should they? If career counselors aim to prepare students for the workplace, teaching them skills needed for marketability and overall success, it would seem to make sense for counselors to educate students about how their online presence can affect them. For example, a career center can educate students about how potential employers may try to take a look at their profile page and provide them some options as to how to handle the situation. One possible solution is to educate students on how to control their privacy settings, so that employers can not access their profile. Another possible solution is to use their profile to their advantage by using it as another place to highlight their good points. If an employer is taking the time to look at your profile, sell yourself and show them what they want to see. This Hoped-for (possible) Professional Self, as Bowen (Pending 2009) calls it, can act as a digital resume. Thus, the possible Professional Self is an identity we can convey through our profile pages to potential employers. This professional self is only a potential self and would rely on education for both the students and career counselors in order to understand how it could work. Additionally, the emergence of professional related social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Toolbox, Spoke, and Xing, provide the opportunity for students to use their knowledge of social network-ing sites within a professional context.