Whats your digital footprint say about you?

So you have a profile on LinkedIn; pictures on FaceBook; tell the world about your day on Twitter and your job at your blog. If you are looking for a job, and I were to trace your steps and follow each of these footprints, what type of picture are your painting? Are you someone who likes to "get down" on the weekends, drinking everything in sight (proof provided by you or your friends FaceBook pics). Maybe you like to read science fiction novels (you can show the books you are reading on LinkedIn). Better yet, you're an avid video game player who plays Call of Duty until the wee hours of the night (some people use their gaming avatars in their profiles).

Regardless of what you do in your private, non-internet connected life, you must go to great lengths to protect the image you are presenting online. Each of these activities give a potential employer a clue about the type of person you are and insight into what makes you tick and what excites you.

So what? Does this really matter when you are interviewing and meeting with real, flesh and blood, non digitized people? The answer is a resounding yes! Employers, recruiters, HR staff, hiring managers - EVERYONE - is going online to verify you are who you say you are. They are checking you out. The days of employers just using references that you've provided are gone; deal with it and be prepared.

Now that we've established the importance of your online image, how do you develop and protect it:

- Keep a consistent name / user id across the different sites your belong to. Consistency is the key.

- Block information you don't want the public to know about. Think before you tweet, post or message.

- Friends matter! Just like in high school, be careful who you associate with and friend.

- Never, ever, ever bash a previous employer. (It'll come back to bite you).

- Set up Google alerts for your name and online id's.

The bottom line is this - You are what you tweet. Think before you post. Research before you friend. Whatever clever phrase you want to use, be mindful of what you do online because it is not private. Many people forget the social part of social networking. The whole point is to share your experiences and network your way to a job. This only works if you open up and share some of yourself. Just be sure you're sharing the part you want us to see.


Views: 59

Comment by Ken Forrester on January 20, 2010 at 9:36am
Great post... sometimes we get caught up in the digital world and forget that it is not the real world. We pretend to be someone other than who we truly are to impress others or bring attention to us. The only problem, as you mentioned is that everything is public. The things that give pleasure now, most likely will cause pain tomorrow.
Comment by Duane Roberts on January 20, 2010 at 12:17pm
Ken - you are absoultely correct. Many people are going to be in for a shock when the truth comes out during an interview!


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