Managing Your Digital Footprint
If you think you don't have a digital footprint, the fact you're reading this blog means you almost certainly do.
Your digital footprints are the virtual steps you take while using the internet; posting on social media, emailing, using apps on your phone - the list is almost endless. All of the digital traces these actions leave behind become a part of your online history and can be potentially seen by other people or tracked in a database.
With employers actively screening screening candidates' use of social media, it’s imperative that you make sure your digital footprint is as professional as it can be. Treat yourself to a virtual pedicure and stride confidently through your next interview process with the following tips:
Polish your Digital Profile
Your personal brand can make you stand out from the crowd, especially during the interview process. Carefully crafting an appropriate online personal brand shows others who you are and what makes you so appealing as a candidate while providing an honest, yet professional, public-facing persona. Make sure your username is uniform across every social network you use; this makes it easier for people to find you, helps protect against copycats, and increases you brand profile as it makes your online presence look considered and well-planned.
If you have any questionable photos or posts that may not be in-line with the personal brand you wish to portray, now is the time to tidy these up. Keep yourself looking professional and respectable at all times. Whether its drunken escapades, illegal activities, or anything overtly sexual, make sure these are removed. Employers will not look on these favourably. Remember - your online presence is an extention of your CV and should be treated as such.
Tighten Your Digital Security
Have you ever updated your privacy settings on Facebook? No? Then you will be completely open to the public on this platform whether you like it or not. Increasing your security levels on Facebook so that only friends can view your posts is probably the wisest course of action, but don’t hide your entire profile.
Employers go to Facebook to learn more about you, so have some information to show you’re a genuine and personable individual. Restrict things that are personal to you like photos, wall posts, likes and relationship status, but keep your profile picture, employment and educational history open to the public.
If you use Twitter and Instagram in a professional capacity make sure they're open to the pubic. If you want to post things that are unprofessional or personal that's fine, but make sure your accounts are private.
Keep it Professional
Make sure anything you post is professional at all times. Social media is a platform for you to offer insights into yourself and what you can offer, don’t muddy your digital footprint by leaving questionable posts or photos where employers could see them. There is a certain degree of restraint required before posting on social media once you decide to keep things professional. If you talk about your past or present employers on social media, make sure you don’t paint them in a bad light. This can lead to awkward situations, especially if you have vented your frustrations online and your boss or co-workers see this.
Having a professional headshot as your profile picture on social media will instantly increase your attractiveness to any potential employer. It shows you mean business and, similar to your username, using the same one across your social media accounts will help build your personal brand.
Your Digital Presence
So now you have cleaned up your social media accounts, set a professional profile image, and updated your privacy settings. The next step is to keep your accounts interesting for your followers. Don’t be scared to leave a digital footprint, just make sure they are steps in the right direction!
Not posting for long periods of time can make you look disinterested in your field of work. You can use LinkedIn and twitter to quickly share thought-provoking and interesting articles relating to your job industry, follow influencers and share your own insights into topics relating to your career.
- Create conversation by commenting on articles and blogs that are relevant to you
- Like and follow your favourite companies to keep up to date with them
- Join webinars and twitter chats about topics you are interested in
- Engage with influencers on twitter by commenting on or liking their updates - they might sit up and take notice of your own work
Making these changes won’t take long and could make getting your next role, and the five after that, much easier!