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Spring Fling has sadly concluded, and — as we make our way to our Monday morning classes with tired expressions and pounding headaches — it is time to look on to finals and whatever awaits us next.

For many of us, this includes a summer internship or some sort of job. These summer opportunities make us more competitive once we enter the job market.

But you know what will not help you when being examined by potential employers? All those Facebook pictures you are tagged in from Fling. A general consensus among students is that as long as you block obvious displays of alcohol usage you are generally okay.

However, there are some uses that may surprise you. Obviously, you know that no employer wants to see pictures of you at a frat party. But you might be surprised that — according to a survey — some other ways Facebook can be used is to see if a candidate shows poor communication skills, makes discriminatory comments or lies about qualifications. What is even crazier is that 14 percent of employers have disregarded a candidate because the candidate sent a message using an emoticon such as a smiley face.

These things are what our resumes don’t say but what our interviewers look for when they view our Facebook pages. All those pictures and friendly comments our friends have left on our walls now paint an entirely different picture than what was intended.

This should make us wonder what effect Facebook is having on our futures.

How has Facebook affected us? On one hand, many students have removed their last names from the site to make their profiles harder to find (for the record though, employers may search by email address and network and still find you). Others have amped up their privacy settings so that only a select few may view their pictures.

So does this mean that Facebook is acting as a sort of twisted moral compass? Possibly.

Another possibility is that it is lowering the expectations in the workplace. Old taboos are leaving with the coming of a new generation. The lines between our professional and social lives are beginning to blur, and this leaves us with a very strange recruitment process.

Where should employers draw the line? Is Facebook actually a reliable tool to use in hiring?

According to research commissioned by Microsoft (PDF) in December 2009, 79 percent of United States job recruiters and hiring managers have looked up online information about potential employees.

College senior Marisa Schoen said that Facebook may be useful for employers so that they can get a better idea of a potential employee’s character. However, she said, “There is one person in the school setting, one in the work setting and another in the social setting. What [a person] might be like in the work place may be very different than in a social setting. Companies need to keep in mind that they are hiring a person for the workplace.”

This is the main problem with using Facebook as a way to help employers judge potential employees. It is the lack of boundaries that the workplace has now placed on the workers.

Unfortunately for us, we are now expected to act socially just as we do at work. Or is it that we should act at work like we do in a social environment?

It is true that we should always conduct ourselves in a way that is morally right and try and live as respectable people. However, we are more than capable of separating our social lives from our professional ones. Facebook pages should not be used a means to judge employees because Facebook is a social networking site, not a professional one.

Go ahead and check LinkedIn, but leave Facebook to the students.

Sarah Banks is a College sophomore from Okemos, Mich. Her email address is Bank on It appears every other Monday.

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