You know the phrase, “Everyone has a history”? Did you know that it applies to your online presence too? Every email, photo, post, or click leaves a trail with your name on it – even that you are reading this blog post has been picked up and noted in your online history. This collection of data, also known as your “digital footprint”, can be accessed by potential employers in addition to anyone else utilizing the World Wide Web.
Your digital footprint is a combination of what you put online and things about you that were put online by other sources. This can include social media, websites you own or manage, articles with your name in or on them, etc. And these items can go back years and years, creating a dynamic representation of who you are through a simple Google search.
Have you ever taken the time to Google your own name? You may be surprised with the information that you will find. Social media pages that you are most active on will always populate the top few search results, but as you scroll, deeper and deeper, you may uncover things that will shock you. Perhaps a rogue Myspace page that you thought had disappeared ages ago?
With the ease of use on the internet, more and more employers are conducting not only an official background check, but an online audit as well. While some may be content to peruse you Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, many are diving deeper to see if there is anything particularly interesting about your online history. Software has been developed to strategically comb through online posts to identify unwanted behaviors such as sexism, racism and drug use. One such organization, Fama Technologies, says that they help their business clients screen over eleven million pieces of publicly available content from candidates worldwide.
If you are concerned about your digital footprint, there are a few ways that you can assess and correct yours, as well as manage it going forward:
Assess Your Current Digital Footprint:
- - Use multiple search engines to search for your first and last name. Try common misspellings as well. Review the first two pages of results and ask the site managers to take down anything that you’re not happy about.
- - Review your mobile use – this includes applications as well as web-pages. Clean up and get rid of anything that is not of use and be sure to password protect anything of value on your device.
- - Double-check your privacy settings on all social media channels and educate yourself about their limits.
- - Create diverse, strong and memorable passwords to avoid being hacked.
- - Remove outdated social media profiles, old content, etc.
Manage Your Future Digital Footprint:
- - Build a positive online reputation by staying away from questionable photos, hot-topic posts, and politically incorrect content. The less you express online, the better.
- - Be selective about who you authorize to have access to your information and online platforms. In this case, sharing is NOT caring.
- - Consider using the strictest privacy controls across all social media channels to avoid missing anything that could be misconstrued by others.
It’s not too late to begin the process of managing your digital footprint, but it needs to start immediately. The longer you wait to secure your identity online, the sooner you may lose out on your dream opportunity due to outdated or incorrect information they associated with you through your online presence. In this case especially, ignorance is not bliss. Be aware of who you appear to be online and do your best to make sure it aligns with who you truly are.
Biotech Partners has years in the recruiting industry and has picked up many tips and tricks to the trade. Reach out to us today to learn about a few ways you can enhance your resume and be noticed by companies (in a good way!).