In workshops at California State University Northridge, students facing post-graduation job searches receive tips to boost their web presence and market themselves to potential employers. The students are also cautioned about the information and pictures they post about themselves on popular social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. Human resources professionals are increasingly using those sites to check the background of applicants. Objectionable information or images showing poor taste could lead to no job offer being made. “It’s amazing how surprised they are to hear that,” said Patricia Gaynor, assistant director of the senior year transition and employment program at the CSUN Career Center. The spread of new media has changed much in society, the job search process included. Sites such as Monster, CareerBuilder and Craig’s List created alternatives for job postings. E-mail and Web sites became an efficient way to send or post resumes. Now video resumes are beginning to appear in the e-mail in-boxes of HR professionals. A recent online survey by career publisher Vault, Inc. found that 89 percent of employers polled would consider viewing a video resume. But the method has yet to catch on there is more talking about video resumes in HR circles than actual viewing. Making the initial contact with an employer through a video raises questions of discrimination. The Vault survey found that 15 percent of the respondents said video resumes raised concerns with their legal departments and 13 percent think they are unfair to applicants unable to afford camera equipment. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission warns that the reliance of new technology “could lead to intentional race or color discrimination based on appearance.” While remaining open-minded about video resumes, Cindy Lewis, director of the career center at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, has her doubts because of the potential for discrimination. Lewis even advises students not to include a picture with a traditional resume for the same reason. “For me, I don’t think video resumes are going to catch on,” Lewis said. At Insomniac Games, a video game publisher in Burbank, the HR department has not yet received any video resumes, although director Carrie Oliff said she found the idea very interesting. One plus of viewing a presentation by an applicant is you can get a better sense of what kind of person they are, Oliff said. “The flip side is, there is the potential that you are getting too much information and not just focusing on their skill set,” Oliff said. LoanToolbox, a Westlake Village-based trainer for mortgage and loan officers, also has yet to see any video resumes. CEO David Fournier, however, expects he will see them in the future, especially when it comes to positions handling live online feeds for its members. “Someone who can create that could make quite an impression to a company like ours,” Fournier said. LoanToolbox uses several methods to fill vacancies: subscribing to Web sites to post jobs; using recruiters to find candidates for upper management positions; and having human resources comb the Internet for qualified resumes. Insomniac is readying an online application at its Web site that will allow for better search capabilities based on skill set. The company also includes on its podcast a feature titled “I Want Your Job”, featuring current employees talking about what their job entails. Both companies, however, are not interested in using social networking sites to check on the background on potential employees. A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found they are not alone. Out of 297 human resources professionals questioned, 1 percent used social networking sites to background-check or pre-screen candidates. Only 4 percent used such sites for recruiting. LoanToolbox conducts background checks and if there are red flags about hiring a candidate it comes out then, Fournier said. “If someone wants to be silly in their personal life, I won’t hold that against them,” Fournier added. Lewis, from CLU, thinks the age of the person recruiting a candidate might play into whether they check a social networking site. “If I am an employer and I’m 55 years old I might not know much about MySpace and I might not check it,” Lewis said. “A younger recruiter might be all over that.” For all the use of new media job search methods, the traditional methods have not died out. College career counselors recommend students still use a paper resume in addition to an e-mail copy. The CSUN career center still relies on job fairs to bring graduates and employers together. A waiting list was created for the next fair taking place June 7 because so many employers want to participate, Gaynor said. The appeal of a job fair is the comfort level of a face-to-face meeting, Gaynor said. “It’s totally personal, which gives you some hope and it is refreshing to see that that brings them in,” Gaynor said.