Last April, the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity held a Western-themed dance party sponsored by ASUSU. Known as the Wild Wild West dance party, the premise involved party-goers dressed up as cowboys or Native Americans.Travis Chambers, a senior at the time and one of the planners of the party, attended the event dressed as a Native American. Pictures of the party were later added to Facebook, one of which depicted Chambers in his party attire with his hand over his mouth.Shortly after the party, Chambers received a job offer.”There was a nonprofit that deals with troubled youth, and they were looking for a social media director,” Chambers said. “They called Preston Parker, who was over at the social media program, and asked for his best social media student, and so he referred them to me.”The employer said they were impressed by Chambers, but that they had found the Facebook photo of the Wild Wild West party. Chambers did not get the job because of this picture.”With the youth that the nonprofit worked with, they had a lot of Native American youth,” Chambers said. “They saw that picture, and for them it was really offensive. They felt that it was disrespectful to sacred Native American rituals.”As social networking continues to grow, employers are using Facebook and other popular social networking websites, such as Twitter, to determine if applicants are employable. Facebook profiles and other forms of social networking can tell an employer a lot about potential employees, according to a 2011 University of Maryland study.The study shows that an applicant’s Facebook profile can tell an employer everything about that applicant’s personality within 10 percent accuracy of a standard personality test administered by the employer.Deleting a person’s social networking profiles or not having any at all could stop employers from finding an employee’s personal accounts, but freshman Charles Roberts, who doesn’t have any social networking accounts, said this doesn’t solve the problem.”It’s a double-edged sword,” Roberts said. “Employers can’t see what you do, but they can see what others say about you.”Roberts said a simple Google search can provide employers with contextual information about employees or applicants, even if the applicant doesn’t have social networking accounts. Chambers said to just delete a Facebook account is a bad idea, because it might tell employers that an applicant is not socially active.”If an employer looks for your Facebook and you don’t have one, and it’s a marketing or social media job, it looks like you are not really very engaged in it,” he said.After his photo incident, Chambers said he began thinking about how his Facebook profile represented him and took the time to turn it into something that a future employer would like. He kept most of the pictures that he had but he deleted or untagged himself from any that were questionable, including the one from the dance party.However, Chambers said he kept photos that showed his personality so he wouldn’t look boring. He also made sure to include a lot of photos with his family, because he got married last August.”I realized that that would be really good for future employers to see,” he said.Chambers said he took time to turn his social media platform into a tool for future employers.
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