Social media has transformed the job market. A great CV is still the cornerstone of your job application, but employers are taking an increasing interest in digital footprints.
What is a ‘digital footprint’?
“Simply put, a digital footprint is the record or trail left by the things you do online. Your social media activity, the info on your personal website, your browsing history, your online subscriptions, any photo galleries and videos you’ve uploaded — essentially, anything on the Internet with your name on it.”
According to research, 70% of interviewers use social media platforms to learn more about you and according to a 2017 survey by CareerBuilder, more than half of employers had found online postings that led them not to hire a candidate for an open role.
With this in mind, it is absolutely crucial to optimise these accounts to their maximum potential. It goes without saying that posting about controversial or offensive topics will no doubt be inconsistent with your potential employers’ values, but some of the key things to focus on are very straightforward, but so often missed.
How can I improve my digital footprint?
1. Accuracy – a spelling mistake or outdated information makes you question someone’s attention to detail and credibility online.
2. The LinkedIn profiles which really stand out have a personalised bio which has an injection of humanity whilst also touching on an individual’s accomplishments and strengths. Make sure to spend a bit of extra time writing and keeping your profiles updated. We would also recommend not copy and pasting things directly from your CV but instead picking out the key takeaways and putting them together into a punchy summary which really sells you - think of yourself as a brand.
3. Make sure you are active on your social accounts - an out-of-date social account does not look good. Make sure you are interacting with other users, networking and, if you feel comfortable doing so, perhaps posting a thought leadership piece around your specialist sector. If you do not feel comfortable posting an article or blog, simply commenting on relevant news stories, or sharing information which is of value to your peers will also be well received.
4. When networking, keep your career goals in mind – focus on interacting with people within the scope of your sector so your connections reflect how you wish to be positioned. You also never know where your new connections may lead…
5. It is useful to google yourself every so often as an online ‘health check’ to see what comes up. If a search does happen to throw up something you don’t like you have the chance to look at having it removed or, if this is not possible, prepare yourself for it to be brought up at interview. The worst-case scenario is that you are caught off guard so have your answers at the ready in case it is brought up in conversation.
6. Finally, do not forget to make sure you have an appropriate profile picture. No profile picture, or worse, an off-brand photograph could potentially be damaging so, if needed, have a professional headshot taken.