Almost every aspect of our lives, both personal and professional involves a digital or online interaction. From shopping and banking to connecting with friends, learning and researching, we rely heavily on online services.
All of this digital activity leaves a trace - your digital footprint.
What is a digital footprint?
Your digital footprint is all the information about you that exists on the Internet as a result of your online activity. This digital profile is made up of ‘behind-the-scenes’ information about the sites you’ve visited, the searches you’ve conducted and the way you interact with online services as well as your social media posts, blogs and any personal or professional websites. It’s a well-known fact that many companies use this personal information to hone their advertising efforts. But marketers aren’t the only people interested. Your digital footprint is playing an increasingly significant role in the world of recruitment and employment.
Your digital footprint and the world of work
Today an increasing number of employers are looking at the information available online to identify and get to know candidates better. Many employers now browse LinkedIn profiles and other recruitment sites to try to find suitable candidates before advertising a role more widely. To make sure you’re in the running for your dream role, it’s essential that you’re leveraging your online presence effectively. Managing your digital footprint should form part of your strategy.
Consider your digital footprint as another way to reach and present yourself to potential clients or employers. Whereas before people relied heavily on their CV and an interview, you can now add depth to your professional persona through your digital channels.
For example, a blog is an opportunity to demonstrate your interests and skills that complement your professional role. It can show employers and clients who you are and what you stand for, allowing them to get to know the real person behind the CV or pitch.
Similarly, an active presence on LinkedIn, where you can join and contribute to relevant groups and discussions demonstrates an enthusiasm for your chosen field or industry.
Your digital footprint also allows potential employers and clients to see and hear what others are saying about you beyond the standard references provided. Including positive feedback and recommendations on your website or social media profiles will ensure your digital footprint is working harder for you.
A well-curated digital footprint is perhaps even more important if you’re self-employed and run your own business. Potential clients are likely to research and identify vendors on a variety of online platforms including Facebook and LinkedIn as well as Google searches. For starters, you’ll want to ensure your profile or website is ranking high in Google search results, by optimising your web pages and blogs using relevant keywords.
Your digital footprint: Dos and don’ts
1. Sync up. If you have a professional presence in multiple online locations - e.g. a Twitter feed, blog, company website or even videos of business presentations on YouTube - don't forget to include crosslinks on each profile. The more opportunities you give people to keep in contact with you via other websites and professional social media, the better. Just remember to only link to channels in which you have a professional presence.
2. Keep it professional. Always remember that your online profile is a professional tool. Be polite and positive at all times, and avoid leaving status updates that aren't relevant to your professional career. Imagine you're networking in person, and don't act any differently when you're interacting with someone on online.
3. Think before posting. The number one consideration is to think carefully about anything you post online because it will all contribute to your digital footprint. As a rule, whenever you post a comment, photo or blog post, ask yourself if you'd feel comfortable if a prospective employer could read it. You might want to review your privacy settings to ensure that friends and family can’t tag you in content you’d rather employers and clients not see. And remember, if you make a negative comment online today, it could be viewed by employers, managers, clients and colleagues, years from now.
4. Stay proactive. Keep your online presence up to date and relevant. On social media, post links to interesting comments, websites and articles as often as you can. Use your digital footprint to show potential clients and employers that you’re up to date with pertinent industry issues that affect them.
Learn how to make your digital footprint work in your favour with one to one support from a professional career coach. Contact us today.