about this sitesee Meranda's resumesee clips and work sampleskeep in touch

Unprofessional photo? No degree for you.

I’ve heard some ridiculous things about people’s photos on facebook and myspace or other sites causing them to lose a job they have or otherwise would have received. I’ve even heard of police and school administrators using the sites to track underage drinking, on-campus violations, etc.

But THIS is the first time I’ve heard of a college denying a student her degree over an “unprofessional” photo. (There’s a picture posted there, and to be honest, compared to a lot of photos I’ve taken or even been in, that is really tame. You can’t even tell she’s drinking alcohol or that she’s drunk except, apparently, a silly caption. She’s also of legal drinking age.) To read the full story, go here. She was apparently given an English degree in lieu of her education degree and certificate.

PERSONALLY, I think it is more than fair for a company to use any means necessary to screen a candidate. Once you become an employee, for better or worse, you are representing that company. If you’re projecting an image that they don’t want to be associated with, then they’re better off knowing before they take the time and spend the money to bring you on. (Though, I still don’t think this image alone would or should be enough for anyone to rule out a candidate. Any company that takes itself that seriously is probably not the type of place you’d want to work.)

As for a college, I think it’s absolutely ridiculous to judge a student based on their photos. Administrators are just being hypocrites for trying to ban students from using these sites or posting their photos. Whether or not they are posted or taken, colleges should and do know that students will drink and have parties. Forcing students to go underground isn’t going to change that; it’s just going to make it harder to enforce legitimate rules and push kids towards more dangerous behavior.

I blogged in detail about this earlier during my own job search: Managing your online identity

(I also posted this on a livejournal community of college students to see what they thought. If anything interesting pops up there, I’ll update it here.)

One Response to “Unprofessional photo? No degree for you.”

  1. Dana Says:

    Wow wow wow. My husband has a photo on his profile of him “snorting a coke line.” The coke he is allegedly snorting in the photo is either baking powder or some other white powdery cooking substance. Funny. Do we remember funny?
    I absolutely agree with you. If a school who is thinking about hiring this girl says “We don’t want to hire you because we don’t want your students to see photos of you like this,” fine. My husband was very aware of this risk when he was applying for jobs and chose to make some info on his profile private.
    But I don’t know anyone who ever would have graduated based on this standard of “professionalism.” The photos in the Stater banquet programs alone would have been enough to strip half the j-school of degrees. Is the university’s administration so dense they don’t realize that? The precedent this sets if it is not overturned is mind-boggling.
    Question, what do you think about universities using profiles to decide whether or not to accept a student who has applied to go to school there? I haven’t heard about that happening yet, but it feels it could be close at hand.