Your Digital Footprint
It is a brave new world of business recruiting. According to personal branding experts from EssayMama, recruiters no longer limit themselves to resumes, cover letters, and references. Recruiters now search social media for clues about who you are, how others perceive you, how you fit with their company culture and how well you present yourself. Employers use social media to get a more well-rounded picture of you and as a way to verify that you really do have the skills you highlight in your resume. Sites like LinkedIn not only provide profile information, it provides skill endorsements from others and your posts offer insight into how you present yourself in public. You can use social media to your advantage but you must build your profile carefully so that it does not hurt you.
Here are five tips for how you can manage your digital footprint to give you an edge over your competitors.
Investigate Your Digital Footprint
Your digital footprint includes all of the things you leave behind when you use the internet. App use, emails, skype calls, online shopping, comments on social media and yes, all those cookies that track what sites you visit and what you have done on those sites. For this reason, it is important that you investigate what your overall digital image is. Here is a list of ways to help you evaluate your digital footprint:
- Create a list of all the websites online you use repeatedly
- Consider all of the content you post and think about how others might perceive your posts. Would an employer look upon your posts favorably or with concern?
- Use one or more search engines to search on your name. Use variations of your name such as full name with middle initial, without a middle initial, married names, maiden names etc. Look at the results that get pulled up. You may find some surprising information surface. What information could a potential employer access and what impact might that information have on your chances to get hired?
Control Your Online Digital Footprint
If you discover derogatory content associated with your online profile or links to websites or pages not in keeping with your professional image then you should take steps to control the damage. The first step is to delete as many posts and comments as possible. If you cannot delete a post or comment then you need to acknowledge them and explain them in the most positive light possible. Explain why you failed to use better judgment when making the post.
Go on a social media diet and dissociate yourself from any negative or damaging websites you have been active on. This is important because failure to control your online behavior has long-term effects that can hurt your job searches.
Pay close attention to your privacy settings. Your private life should be kept as private as possible. Limit private comments to only those friends you feel safe with. Be very careful about things you post for the general public to read.
Develop a Positive Image
Create a social media strategy that includes what types of websites you will associate with, what information you will share, the groups or organizations you will associate with and when you will post comments. Make sure that all pictures of you online present you in the best possible light. Remove anything that might cause an employer to question your professionalism or values.
Create An Online Persona
Create profiles and resumes on sites like LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook and other employment sites. Always use your real name. Make certain information is consistent from site to site. You can also create a blog related to your business and personal interests as long as the content is professional and presents you in a positive light.
Create a consistent username for all sites. This step will help employers recognize you across different social media sites and it will help you build your personal branding.
Get Active Online
Learn to be active online in order to build a well-rounded image of who you are. Use social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to demonstrate an interest in current events, your industry, and learning. Here are just a few ways to begin building your image through social media engagement:
- Make comments on articles and blogs that cover topics you are passionate about
- Make Tweets during news events, company events, sporting events or charitable events.
- Join LinkedIn groups that are directly or indirectly related to your area of business interest and participate. Pose and answer questions. Become a resource for others in your industry and create a strong network of professional peers
- Make comments on Youtube videos that teach you or inspire you
- Post comments on the Facebook pages of organizations and groups you follow and care about
All of this activity will create a picture of those things that are important to you and it will demonstrate your ability to communicate clearly and professionally.
Developing and controlling your digital footprint takes a lot of time but it can pay big rewards by establishing a consistent, positive image of who you are at and away from work. Social media is a powerful and important part of a job seeker’s toolbox. Care for it diligently.
Today’s guest post is by Kenneth Waldman. He is a professional content writer with over 5 years of experience and also a blog editor at essaymama.com. Get in touch with him on Linkedin.