Symantec wants you (if your Facebook profile is clean)

Jennifer Scott

COMMENT: Let's start with the good news there will be more IT jobs coming for graduates. Symantec has announced its first graduate recruitment and internship programme in Europe. The company will be looking to hire more than 350 people, including 25 graduates and 13 interns in the UK alone.

So what's the bad news? The company will be using Facebook to do it. That's OK you might be saying, it's the new way of things in the web 2.0 world. But this is the company that just a month ago claimed Facebook was a sure fire way of damaging your job prospects. Oh dear.

It is true that we should all think more about what we put online, or at least how public it is made. The drunken nights out with the stray camera catching you at your worst or the work induced rants you believe are just between you and your friends can often be stored and easily found by future employers.

It also amazes me how many people put so much personal detail online, not just date of birth or hometown but phone numbers, post codes and even bank details appear on social networking sites.

Now I am sure Symantec won't be using your details to buy stuff on eBay but it seems likely that the company who have warned others about this may now exploit it themselves.

Perhaps the story that came out almost a month to the day was a little warning to prospective applicants: clear up your Facebook before you apply.

But we are talking upcoming graduates here. The company will be going through universities as well as the web portal encouraging students to apply, and let's face it, when you are dealing with students having the time of their lives with little thought to what consequences their 21st birthday party pictures will have on their future, it can be unfair to judge them on their personal networking sites.

What should be important is how they act at work, not what they do outside or in their student days. I am sure we all have stories we would rather have forgotten but we were just perhaps lucky enough to have not had them recorded so accurately for "posterity".

It is good that the company is making positions for graduates coming out of university at a very difficult time in the job market. It is also great that it is incorporating new ideas to hire young people that they can easily engage in.

But take heed of its previous warnings people and make that Facebook profile private before you apply. Unless, of course, you have nothing on there to hide

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.