Before posting all those pictures of moments you may or may not remember from last weekend on Bourbon Street, you might want to think twice about who will see them.
According to a study of 300 professionals involved in the hiring process at their companies, 91 percent use social media sites to screen job applicants.
Of those professionals, 69 percent said they have rejected a candidate based on material posted on a social media site.
The reasons for rejection included things like negative or inappropriate pictures or comments, inconsistencies in their information and posts that shared confidential or negative information about a previous employer.
Reppler, a company that seeks to help people manage their online image, released the study in late September.
Currently a free service, Reppler analyzes people's online images across social networks including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Launched in April, Reppler will soon be expanding to include analysis sites like YouTube and Tumblr, founder Vlad Gorelik said.
The application can be downloaded on Facebook or from its website, reppler.com. It works to evaluate people's overall online image by analyzing things like the tone of the language used on their profile, who or what is generating the most content on their page and the time of day during which they are most active - this could reflect poorly on an applicant if he or she was most active during work hours.
Reppler also analyzes the makeup of a person's social network connections to show how they interact or overlap. The application then identifies any privacy or security issues with each account and flags any inappropriate or questionable content.
In today's digital world, Gorelik said, managing your online image is just as important as having an impressive cover letter or a resume.
"Your online image is often a recruiter's first impression of you before you shake their hand," he said.
Indeed, the study showed that 47 percent of recruiters looked at applicants' social networking sites before actually speaking with them. Twenty-seven percent did so after having an initial conversation with the applicants, and 4 percent did so only before making a job offer.
Heather White, interim director of the UF Career Resource Center, said the CRC works to educate students to be aware of what they're posting.
She suggested that students Google themselves and go through their pictures and comments to make sure everything is appropriate for a potential employer to see.
"Even if your profile is set to ‘friends only,' you still need to be careful," she said.
However, it's not just about controlling negative messages. Students' presences on social media sites can also be beneficial, she said.
LinkedIn can be a powerful networking tool that acts like an online resume, she said. A Facebook page can be similarly helpful if students update things like their work experience, community involvement and leadership positions.
In fact, 68 percent of respondents to Reppler's survey said they had hired a candidate because of positive things they saw on social networking sites.
"You need to always make sure that you put your best foot forward," Gorelik said. "And these days, that's by managing your online image."