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Career Services - Students

Student Dangers

Caution in Your Actions Leading to the Job Search

Job Boards| Social Media | Your Cell | Your Email

*Click here to spot a "Bad Employer." This also links to the Better Business Bureau.

Providing Personal Info on Job Boards

Occasionally identity thieves place fake job postings on online job boards in an attempt to trick job seekers into giving personal information. The perpetrators then contact those job seekers and ask for personal info, such as SS# and bank account information, supposedly for the human resources department. Never provide personal information online or over the phone without verifying who you are talking to.


Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Blogs)

Will others find "digital dirt" on YOU? Career Services also cautions you regarding any information you post on the Internet, whether in blogs, Facebook or MySpace. Potential employers & graduate school admissions officers can often view your information, including pictures. Access to this site can be gained through student interns, alumni, and others. Therefore, please know that anything you post online, including your personal information, is actually PUBLIC information and can be used against you. Be cautious about what is posted and use privacy settings to your advantage when using Facebook and Myspace. Think about what your blog or profile says about you to an employer or graduate school.

Suggestion: We suggest changing your privacy settings so that only other students, confirmed friends can view your information.

Here is an excerpt from an article featured in the Louisiana State University weekly newspaper entitled, "Facebook Users Beware: Unsuspected Onlookers," by Michelle Martin.

"Facebook is not just for bored college kids anymore, and you might want to think twice about what you write. These online community forums (other examples include MySpace and ConnectU) are becoming popular tools that employers use to scope out potential employees. This method of assessment allows employers to find out about the 'you' that you don't hand to them in a black vinyl portfolio.

"Because the Facebook is a public Web site, the screening of potential employees' profiles is legal. There are ways of controlling who sees what on your Facebook profile. The Facebook's 'Terms of Use,' advises students to 'Use the privacy settings to your advantage.' You can make it more difficult for an employer to find your information by making your privacy settings more restrictive.

"The Facebook's 'Terms of Use' explain that "you can limit the people who can view your profile (or contact info) to friends or 'friends of friends.'" At many universities, campus officials are working to raise awareness of this new trend among employers. For example, Tufts University introduced the risks of the Facebook at their freshman orientation. According to Boston.com, '[they] encouraged students to omit detailed personal information from their profiles, such as dormitory room numbers and class schedules. Boston College plans to do the same next year, and Boston University has instructed residential advisers on offering guidance on Facebook matters.' Other universities are taking a larger role in their students' interaction with the Facebook. In October 2005, the University of New Mexico banned the Facebook Web site from its campus network."


"Telephone Etiquette and Answering Machines" by Brian Krueger

Consider for a moment how your phone is currently being answered. Professional courtesy is quite often not the standard for most college students. An abrupt "Yeah!" could be listed among the more courteous greetings. The more outrageous remarks will often buy you a major black mark in the professionalism category--even if it was your idiot roommate. A simple, "This is ____" is always a pleasant change for the average college dorm room or apartment. Make the change today, before you wrap your tongue around the next company phone call. As difficult as may seem, you might want to encourage your roommate to do the same.

One final note on phone etiquette: if you (or any of your roommates) persist in the use of creative phone answering lines ("Sam's Mortuary, you stab 'em, we slab 'em"), just remember that the click you hear on the other end of the line may be the sound of your dream job being passed on to Contestant #2.

An integral part of Job Search Central is the effective use of an answering machine or voicemail to take your calls when you are out. If you do not have an answering machine yet, purchase one immediately. If you already own an answering machine, you might consider updating your "Doctor Strangelove" greeting or any other "unique and unusual" greeting. Just imagine that your future boss is being greeted by your answering machine and then answer this question: Will it enhance or detract from what they think of you? If it is the latter, change it. Otherwise, your future boss may end up being someone else's future boss.

I realize I should not even have to address this subject, but woefully, over 50 percent of the college answering machines I reach have an inappropriate outgoing message. They often make reference to social habits ("I'm unable to answer my phone because I'm either out partying or passed out on my bed"), study habits ("I'm blowing off my normal classes to pursue advanced studies in chemical inebriation"), or even sexist remarks ("guys leave your phone number, girls leave your measurements") and many others, some of which are not suitable to print. I've heard them all. Take note--when I hear one of these sophomoric messages, that is likely the end of your candidacy with our company. You will never even know that I called. I will probably just hang up and cross you off my list. Think about it the next time you hear the caller "click off" on your machine without leaving a message. That could have been your dream job gone bye-bye. It may have been fun for the first few years, but don't blow your job opportunities over a stupid message. Stop right now, put down this book, and change your message to one of the following:

  1. (If you live by yourself) "Hello. This is (name). I'm not available to take your call right now. Please leave your name, phone number, and the best time to reach you. I will get back to you as soon as possible."
  2. (If you live with others) "Hello. You have reached (names). We are not available to take your call right now. Please leave your name, phone number, the best time to reach you, and the name of the person you are trying to reach. We will get back to you as soon as possible."


Real Salisbury University Story:

SU's Career Services Office received a call from a prominent local employer who was examining student resumes for a job opening he had. He explained to us the story as it actually happened. He began by telling us one student resume looked really good and the resume was strong and very professional. He used the phone number on the resume to contact the student to hopefully set up an interview. When he called he received the student answering machine voice mail message. To his disbelief, the student's message, without going into detail, was sexist and totally unacceptable for the employer. The employer told us about this and said there was no way that he would even consider a student who had a message like that. He went on to say that he would never consider this student for any position because of the nature of the message. We contacted the student and told him he had basically lost the chance to interview for a well-paying job because of his voice mail message. The student had completely forgotten what he had on the machine and was going to change it. The sooner the better!!


Make Sure You Have a Professional Email Address

One of the first things a prospective employer sees on a resume is the email address. Your email address is often at the very top part of the resume along with the name, address, and phone number. It is also a very important piece of information as many employers prefer to do all their communication via email. This means it should be a very professionally sounding email that is acceptable to all employers. In addition, the email should be an address that works and is read by you on a regular, daily basis. The employer may contact you and ask for a response within a day. If you are not reading your email consistently, start doing so now.

Unacceptable email addresses vary from the somewhat humorous to the obnoxious. Put yourself in an employers shoes and try to see how you would react after reading an email that said "hotbabealways@hotmail.com." Would this be a student you would really pursue for your organization? Some email addresses are funny and have their place but that place is not during a job search. Clean up those email addresses and make them conservative and professional. Use your campus email address if you feel comfortable with it. The most important way to judge your email address is to ask yourself the question "what would an employer think about this?"


College Students Should Steer Clear Of Credit Cards

By Michelle Singletary Thursday, October 21, 2004; Page E03

When my niece Lauren came home recently from her first semester at Spelman College in Atlanta, one of the first things we talked about was money.

I asked Lauren if she needed any. She gave me that look teenagers give when asked an obvious question.

Then I asked her if she had applied for a credit card. I wasn't going to launch into a lecture. I just wanted to see if she, like many college freshmen these days, had been tempted by the plastic devil.

"No way, Aunt Michelle," Lauren said. "When it comes to your money, you don't play around with something like that. I know that if I got a credit card, I would tell myself that I would just splurge a little. But you can get in debt real fast."

"You go, girl," I said, giving her a high-five.

I've said it before and I'm going to say it again and again: College students should not get credit cards until they are at least about to graduate and have lined up a full-time job.

Alas, I know I've largely lost this battle. There are parents, college students and credit card executives reading this who can't wait to argue the opposite.

In fact, researchers at Georgetown University's Credit Research Center conclude in a study that students can learn to manage a credit card. Most young adults who qualify for a credit card while attending college have smaller balances, lower credit limits and use their credit cards less frequently than others in the same age range, concludes the research paper, which is being published in the November 2004 issue of the Journal of Student Financial Aid.

Credit card companies couldn't wait to trumpet this news.
"I think this is a good indication that students are becoming wiser about the use of credit," said Daniel F. Drummond, a spokesman for Your Credit Card Companies, an ad hoc group of six financial service companies that have banded together to provide credit education to the public.

Drummond was eager to highlight some key facts from the Georgetown study. The group did not finance the research but nonetheless wanted to pass on these results:

  • 87.9 percent of student accounts are current (paid as agreed), which shows that college students manage credit cards as responsibly as the general population.
  • The average balance of $552 for a student account is approximately one-third the size of the average balance of a non-student young adult's account ($1,465) and one-fourth that of an average older adult's account balance ($2,342).
  • College students are more likely than older adult account holders to pay off their credit card balances in full each month.

Ah, but the credit card companies conveniently left out of their news release these findings, also from the Georgetown research paper:

  • Compared with older account holders, college students with credit cards are more likely to exceed their credit limits.
  • Student credit accounts are more likely to be delinquent. In an average month, 12.1 percent of students are delinquent 30 days or more, compared with 8.1 percent for older adults. And the incidence of serious delinquency (accounts 90 days past due) is 3.1 percent, nearly triple that of older adults.
  • Student accounts have a higher rate of charge-offs than those being used by older adults.
  • In a given month, 18.4 percent of student credit users were assessed fees for either being late or over their credit limits, much higher than the 12.5 percent of older adult accounts.

Use Caution When Exploring Off-Campus Jobs - SU is NOT Responsible

Salisbury University makes no representations or guarantees about positions listed by Career Services. SU is not responsible for safety, wages, working conditions, or other aspects of off-campus employment. It is the responsibility of the individuals to research the integrity of the organizations to which they are applying. The individual is advised to use caution and common sense when applying for any position with an organization or a private party. Please NEVER go alone to a residential address to apply for a job. Do not put yourself in a vulnerable position and jeopardizing your personal safety.

Note: Minimum wage is $7.25/hour in Maryland.

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