While Throwback Thursdays are a funny way to relive some of the memories you’d rather forget, it’s important to remember that everything you put online (be it yesterday, last week or 10 years ago) is on there for everyone to see. Yes, even if you do have hectic privacy settings.
In an age where celebrities are stepping down from gigs because careless tweets have resurfaced after a decade (Kevin Hart, we’re looking at you), it’s never been more important to realise the consequences of your own digital footprint when it comes to your career. In fact a 2018 survey showed around 70% of employers will scope out the social media presence of potential candidates before hiring and almost half of all bosses regularly check their current employees’ digital antics.
So, if your digital footprint isn’t giving the best first impression, or if a light Face-stalk could put you in a compromising position, here are three easy steps to clean up your act.
It’s Time For A Cleaning Spree
First of all, you might like to get familiar with what your digital footprint consists of. While you may think you’re covered with your privacy settings, the best way to hide things you don’t want others to see is it to delete them entirely.
If you don’t know where to start, there are a host of apps, plug-ins and web tools to ruthlessly dispose of your past like Marie Kondo to a wardrobe. Try Cardigan for Twitter posts, which enables you to delete tweets between certain timeframes, right down to specific hashtags. You can also use TweetDelete to delete your tweets on a rolling basis, keeping your feed to as many tweets as you set it to.
For Facebook, Social Book Post Manager is a free Chrome plug-in that is essentially a robot that manually deletes your Facebook posts, four times faster than you could do yourself. You can even target specific words or names if you want to keep any jilted lovers off your digital footprint.
If you’re in a job already, take some time to check out your employer’s social media policy. Lots of employers have rules around posting pictures in company uniforms, about company matters or even just within the workplace.
The Proof Is In The Posting
Think of your digital footprint as the key to your personal brand. It’s not about ditching your online presence entirely, but about using it responsibly and respectfully. We have millions of thoughts every day and plenty of time to assess our actions before those thoughts travel down to your fingers and onto your keyboard. While it’s fine to post a picture of you enjoying a drink with friends (you’re human and so are recruiters), keep it to one early in the night and think about how impressive (or not) boasting about your hangover the next day might look.
Most of the time, hiring managers are typically doing a quick Google of potential candidates to get a feel for their personalities to determine who might be a good fit beyond being able to fulfil a job description.Make sure what you post and how you engage with social media is representative of the person you’ve made yourself out to be in job applications. If you’ve said you’re a great communicator and writer, for example, you’ll want to make sure your posts are articulate with correct spelling and grammar.
Finally, with endless ‘likes’ comes endless responsibility. Choosing to like a post, comment, image or page is effectively saying you endorse it and what it represents. Be wise and maybe hold off before the ‘like’ reflex takes over the next time you see a funny, but potentially offensive, meme.
Learn To Love LinkedIn
Social media isn’t the devil its been made out to be and just because the old you thought it was funny to post pictures of your bare bottom or with your stoned mate doesn’t mean your social media can’t be turned around and used for good. If you’re serious about landing a job you love, start being more active on platforms that support that dream.
LinkedIn is a great example. When it first launched, you probably thought of it as Facebook for old people, but the platform has come a long way and is a fantastic way to be spotted by recruiters and rebuild your digital footprint. This is one social profile you want to make as publicly visible as you can. Share insightful information about the industry you’re trying to get into, or TED talks that resonate with you.
Being active on social media, especially LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, in all the right ways enables you to control your first impression. Think about what you’d want your dream employer to see and if you feel like posting anything outside of that….don’t.
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