Digital Footprint for Job Seekers: Why Does it Matter? | Eden Scott

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Digital Footprint for Job Seekers: Why Does it Matter?

Digital Footprint

What is a digital footprint? 

Your digital footprint is a trace of your online activity.  

Think of your digital footprint like walking through the woods. As you walk, you leave your tracks behind.By following your tracks, people can tell where you’ve been and what you’ve done. It’s much the same with a digital footprint - people can retrace your online journey to understand where online you’ve visited, and what actions you’ve taken.

Why should you care? In today’s world, many employers screen candidates online. Your online social media posts, online activity, and even the content you consume can all paint a picture of who you are. This blog will explore how your digital footprint can affect your employability and how you can manage your online presence.
 

How does a digital footprint work? 

Your digital footprint builds up in two main ways: actively and passively. 
 
Actively - You provide information of your own accord. Here are some examples: 
 
  • Social media posts: That’s everything you share on social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, and X. This includes photos, videos, text posts, and even your likes and comments. 
  • Online accounts: That’s every account you’ve made online, usually via websites or  apps, where you’re giving out information. This could be your name, email address, or location. 
  • Public forums and comments: This can include commenting on a news article or an online forum. 
 
Passively – Data is collected without you necessarily realising it. Here’s how it works: 
 
  • Cookies: Not the ones you’d enjoy with a glass of milk. These are small pieces of data stored on your devices by websites and apps. They’re used to track your online activity and preferences, which can be used for targeted advertising. 
  • IP address: Whenever you connect to the internet, each device has a unique identifier. This identifier can be used to track your location and general online activity. 
  • Browser History: Your browser keeps track of what you search for and which websites you visit, which can build a profile of your interests. 
 

Does your digital footprint impact new job opportunities? 

 Your digital footprint can play a significant part when applying for a new job, both positively and negatively.  
 
A strong professional presence on platforms like LinkedIn is a brilliant way to showcase your skills and experience. It’s also a great tool for networking and finding new job opportunities. 
 
On the other hand, if your personal social media channels have inappropriate content that’s unprofessional, offensive, or goes against the company culture/values, it can hurt your chances of securing the role.  
 

How to reduce your digital footprint 
 

Step 1: Look yourself up 

Imagine you are a potential employer and search for yourself on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and X. Are you pleased with what you find? This is an important exercise for gaining insight into how you’re perceived online.
 

Step 2: Check out your privacy settings

Be mindful of what you post on social media platforms. Consider reviewing your privacy settings and restricting access to who can see your posts. Reviewing and deleting social media posts you wouldn’t want a potential employer to view might also be a good idea. 
 

Step 3: Conduct a digital cleanse

Get rid of your online accounts that you no longer use. This applies to email addresses, social media accounts, and any other online services you’re signed up for but no longer use.  
 

Do employers actually check your digital footprint? 

 It’s actually more likely that an employer will check your digital footprint during the hiring process than not. A recent study suggests that 70% of employers will screen applicants according to their digital footprint.  
 

Why would an employer check my digital footprint? 

  • To verify information: Employers want to confirm that the information you provided in your application is accurate. Your online presence can provide additional information about your skills and experience. 
  • Assessing fit: Companies try to gauge whether you’ll fit in with the culture. They can get a good idea of your interests and communication styles from your social media platforms.  
  • To find out more about you: Your potential employer will want to build a bigger picture and get a comprehensive understanding of you as a candidate. 
  • To identify any red flags: Companies want employees who are great representatives of their business. If they can spot any immediate red flags in your online behaviour, they may choose not to employ you or in some cases, terminate your employment with them.
     

Our advice  

Focus on the parts of your digital footprint that you control. We suggest paying close attention to your social media profiles. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t be comfortable with potential employers accessing, or heavily restrict your social media profiles so your content can only be viewed by people you choose. 

We suggest reviewing your past content and deleting anything that you wouldn’t be comfortable with a potential employer viewing.
 

Ready to explore new job opportunities? 

 Once your digital footprint is in check, it’s time to explore new opportunities. Check out our live vacancies. If there’s no suitable position right now, upload your CV, and we’ll alert you when your ideal role goes live. 
 

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