Reppler helps students prepare social media for future careers

Alyson Schoenung, Staff Writer

Throughout high school and much of college, we are reminded time and time again that our “cyber footprint” is extremely important for life in the real world.

According to a 2013 CareerBuilder survey, of over 2,100 hiring managers and human resource professionals, 50 percent of employers found inappropriate photos of job candidates that changed their minds about those candidates.

It has become apparent, now more than ever, that employers are often checking and rechecking social media profiles of their job candidates to make sure the people that show up to the interviews are really who they portray themselves to be.

From the CareerBuilder survey, 48 percent of employers changed their minds about a job candidate after seeing evidence of them drinking or using drugs.

Reppler, is a site where one can log into their Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. through its website and receive a rating up to 100 percent on how appropriate their particular profile is. In addition, the site will provide problem postings and ways to make your profile more positive and appropriate.

Reppler defines itself as, “a social media monitoring service designed to help users manage their online image across different social networks.”

Reppler aids users in various ways such as tracking your interests through pages you’ve liked on Facebook, common words used throughout statuses and postings, as well as the time of day you most often are active on your sites.

Jennifer Richmond, a career advisor from NKU’s Career Services, agrees that those hiring are looking at social media sites and in fact, her office checks potential job candidates out on Facebook before considering hiring them as well.

“It’s a way to quickly get a sense of the person,” Richmond said.

Richmond also said that checking up on someone through their social media is also just a way to feed a general curiosity about who a person is, which can positively or negatively influence that person.

“Maybe that’s not fair, but I definitely think it happens,” Richmond.

Career Services warns against posting inappropriate photos, as well as opinions that could be considered extreme or controversial.

“As a student, it’s okay to have fun and put things out there that are appropriate for a student but when you start to make that transition from student to professional, you really have to take a step back and think: ‘is it really professional to have a picture taken of me with an adult beverage?” Richmond said.

Career Services has recently started to implement social media workshops, in which students can review their privacy settings, as well as get a sense of things to be aware as a participant in social media.

Megan Farley, a recent December 2013 graduate of NKU’s elementary education program, was advised by professors that as an education major, she shouldn’t even have a Facebook or other social media. However, if she chooses to, she should enable all privacy settings possible as well as maintain an appropriate profile for the young students that are able to look her up.

“I only post things that I would tell anyone,” Farley said.

She received a score of 89 out of 100 for her Facebook presence. Reppler advises Farley to improve her social media score by enabling the private setting for her hometown.

In addition to a numerical score, Reppler also provides a helpful phrase to describe the portrayal of the person’s postings by rating them as partly negative, partly positive or mostly neutral. This can help users to review the type of subjects and words used through their postings and give them a sense of how to improve their profiles’ portrayal.

If a specific post is seen as negative or inappropriate, Reppler will aggregate those posts and enable the user to delete the post to improve their score. Reppler does this through monitoring key words, such as the mention of alcohol or perceived curse words, as well as flagging words than are generally viewed as having a negative connotation.

Katie Puterbaugh, a senior elementary education major at NKU received a score of 94 out of 100 for her Facebook profile.

To combat possible inappropriate postings on her Facebook wall, Puterbaugh enabled a setting on her Facebook that allows her to review and accept or decline anything before it is posted on her wall.

As an education major, Puterbaugh said she is reminded time and time again by professors to pay attention to what she posts, with the knowledge that her social media presence is even more important as someone who plans to work with children.

For any students wanting advice on how to clean up their social media sites and portray themselves in the most professional way possibly, Richmond said that Career Services would be happy to help with those needs. Students can make an extended appointment by calling (859) 572-5680 or by taking advantage of their walk-in hours reserved for resume review or brief questions.