Young Unemployment and Social Media

How your drunken profile photos can cost you more than just your dignity.

By Amanda C., Staff Writer

Many students don’t realize that potential employers can see their Friday night pictures. So can their “likes,” ”activities” and “events”.

Everyone loves the money, but not everyone loves the work required to get it. In the last decade the way in which people have gone about searching for employment has changed dramatically. In the Internet age, , the value of face-to-face interaction has arguably decreased. Previous generations secured employment by pounding the pavement; new generations find jobs online. Therein lies the great divide.

Getting a job is a job itself. Want to get into the world of words? Start a blog. Enter contests. Go to workshops. Want to land that corner office? Be an entrepreneur (which can sometimes mean sacrificing your own paycheque to cover costs) and attend every networking event in the city. The effort required to secure employment often surpasses the effort needed to perform the job.

According to the Toronto Star, student employment currently sits at 15% in part because most students choose not to work. Those who juggle a job and an academic course load are the minority. Most students prefer to work during school breaks and during the summer. Because of external obligations (school/volunteering/sports/clubs), it is not unheard of for employers to refuse to hire students as ‘full time’ workers. If students work during the school year, they need jobs that can accommodate essays and exams. Older employees typically have fewer demands on their time, and are thus in a position to commit to full-time employment.

[pullquote]Many students don’t realize that potential employers can see their Friday night pictures. So can their “likes,” ”activities” and “events”.[/pullquote]

It is ironic that while many job opportunities may be found online or networked to through social media sites like LinkedIn – which are specifically geared for younger audiences – the very individuals facing the highest rate of unemployment. In contrast, mature job seekers often fail to grasp all the nuances of social media sites, but overwhelmingly they are the ones hired.

While social media sites are extremely valuable when seeking out employment opportunities, remember that they can be a double-edged sword. While they provide students with access to a huge amount of information regarding employment opportunities, those same social media sites are used by employers to ‘check out’ job-candidates online. Many students don’t realize that potential employers can see their Friday night pictures. So can their “likes,” ”activities” and “events”. Potential employers also read all the whiny, passive aggressive tweets and statuses posted. Even if the student presents a professional image on a resume, their own Facebook page can betray them. Students often view the ‘online community’ an extension of their private lives, and can forget that it is may be available for the viewing pleasure of potential employers.

It’s easy to say that student unemployment isn’t fair and leave it at that. Much of it isn’t the fault of the student. Jobs vary with location, and most students move two or three times a year from home to school. Students need experience, but aren’t hired because they have no experience. The edge that students have is their ability to use media to their advantage, instead of letting the media use them.


Image Courtesy of Care.com.



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