Digital footprints could make students unemployable

Students who make careless comments on social media sites are “making themselves unemployable in the future”, according to social media expert, Bernadette John.

At the recent inaugural Education and Training Boards Ireland conference, members were told of how businesses are now researching the social media activity of potential employees.

Speaking at the conference, John, a lecturer in digital professionalism at Kings College London, warned that young people in particular are not aware that their employability can be ‘compromised’ by what they post on various social media sites. Tweeting about drinking habits or posting offensive pictures online can damage their chances of gaining employment in certain career sectors.

“Young people may be technologically adept, but they require guidance and support to ensure that they take a long term view of the potential consequences of the material they share online.”

John mentioned recent high profile cases in the US and UK where teachers got in trouble for posting comments about their place of work and students in their class.

A representative from Bank of Ireland believes companies most likely do monitor a potential employee’s online activity.

“A lot of companies do look at people’s online profiles. Especially so in banks; there are security reasons that have to be taken into account. You could have a case of someone taking a sick day off work and then later tweeting that they are out with friends or something. That becomes problematic. People need to smarten up their online activity before they go for interviews.”

Emily Bodkin

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