Your digital footprint is everything that is on the Internet about you and it’s freely available for anyone to look at. Every time we add something to a social media stream, our digital footprint gets bigger and bigger…..
Technology has moved on so fast in the last few years that many of us are using a variety of social media sites to post status updates, tweet what were are doing or share a photographic insight into our lives – mainly photos of food…. but still it’s an insight!
We follow celebrities, comment on issues that interest us or just have a peek at what someone we know is up to……but have you ever thought how employers might also be doing the same to us.
The same social network sites that we use are also helping potential and current employers to find out what we are up to and decide whether you are the right person for the company and it only takes a few mouse clicks!
So what does the Internet say about you?
The best way to find this out is to “Google yourself” then you can see what information comes up in a search – employers are doing it, so it’s probably a good idea to see what your online image says and decide if it needs tweaking. It’s good practice to do this on a regular basis or maybe you could learn how to set up a Google alert, to see what others might have posted about you as soon as it happens.
If you like a local business page on Facebook you might find that they advertise vacancies on there and ask you to get in touch via that site. So it’s fairly obvious that they will have a look at your profile if you do apply.
You can protect yourself by checking your security settings to make sure that your profile is kept private, but remember settings can change so you really need to keep on top of this too. Some people like to keep personal and work profiles separate and register with a nickname. But at the end of the day, it’s probably a good idea to take the time to clean up your profile if you have any concerns. There are plenty of news stories where old social media posts have re-emerged and are used to damage a reputation or even a career.
You can do this by editing any posts that might be viewed as inappropriate, remove tags from pictures your friends have put on. You can’t change everything and why would you want to! Some people have had social media sites for a long time and it’s a great story of your life and nice to look back on.
Another aspect many people don’t think about is if someone finds out enough personal information about you then they could use it to impersonate you or scam you! So be smart and check your settings.
Don’t forget, though that your digital footprint can also be a positive thing. You can showcase your skills and experience and you could use this to network with employers. Some sites such as LinkedIn can really help you to grow your contacts and put you in touch with people or organisations you want to work for.
If you are looking for jobs in a particular field such as marketing or PR then you should be creating a great online identity! So use your online profile to your advantage and make it work for you. If you are considering self employment then Social Media is a fantastic tool to promote your services or goods.
Don’t forget to check out our main learning centre page if you are interested in learning some basic ICT skills to keep safe online.
Or check with your local council or college if you are not in our area.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to let us know what you think – we’d love to hear from you.