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The Foibles of Facebook

I was looking for a former colleague the other day on Facebook and lo and behold I found him! Before asking to “friend” him I looked at his profile, and discovered that he was married, and listed his wife’s Facebook page. Apparently you can easily do that with FB.

Out of curiosity I clicked on his wife’s page which was totally available to the public, including all her comments, private life, and even details of a recent doctor’s visit. I was concerned. Not only for her health, but for the career health of her husband. What if he’s looking for a new job? Employers can and will find this information. What most people don’t realize is that HR Directors are wondering “how many people are we going to have to insure with this hire?” along with any other related health issues, etc. Facebook is not the place to be posting your biopsy results.

According to a recent Workforce Management magazine article titled “Five Trends in Employee Screening,” there is more scrutiny by employers of social networking sites. This article was not posted online, so I don’t have a link.

Don’t let the “privacy” button on Facebook fool you either. You can still be tagged in photos, and your comments on your friend’s pages

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Graduating Cum Laude — You May Brag About it Again

When I first starting writing resumes 13 years ago, it was not uncommon for my clients to want tell future employers about how they graduated with honors. The universities use the Latin term “cum laude” on the degree to distinguish these hard working students. However, you may remember that spam emails were rampant early in the new millennium, usually adversiting websites containing adult content or enhancement drugs. Employers began using “spam blockers” to keep sexually explicit messages from ever reaching their company inbox.

This posed a problem for job searchers who were highly qualified and graduated cum laude. That’s because, cum has a different meaning in English than it does Latin, and it became one of those words that triggered the spam blocker. Resumes that listed this phrase never made it to the intended recipient. Instead, the documents were sent directly into spam folders and deleted. Professional resume writers were told not to use the phrase at all, and instead write “with honors.”

As with everything else in the job search, the rules are once again changing. According to chatter this week in resume writer e-groups, the spam blockers from 2004 are no longer relevant, and emails sent back and forth among the members discussing the “cum laude” issue are not being rejected. Perhaps the software has become more context-based, although this is in no way a scientific study.

Does this mean we can go back to using “cum laude” on a resume? Maybe. I always tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to changes like this. However it’s nice to know that students who work hard, and earn top honors are less likely to be ignored anymore because of spam blocking software.