Tuesday 12 April 2016

5 ways to enhance your digital footprint

Your online profile can be a gateway to your career, so how can you use your digital presence to move swiftly into your next role? Here are five things you should know about your digital footprint.

A digital footprint is the trail of data that users leave on digital services. From websites to social media profiles, your digital footprint can be used to showcase your career – so make sure you know how to optimise it.

First ask yourself: how will people find me? Then follow it up with: what impression will they obtain from my digital presence?

1. Make your mark
Potential employers will almost certainly plug your name into a search engine, so make sure you have a digital presence in the first place. If you have a common name, try to distinguish yourself with your middle name or a creative tagline, e.g. ‘aspiring tax specialist’.

2. Leverage your presence
Having a digital presence can help you find networking opportunities as well as push your name into someone’s sights. A career-oriented social network like LinkedIn is excellent for showcasing your skills, education and experience in a professional manner and acts as a searchable résumé for when an employer is looking for someone just like you. Websites are now so accessible and cheap that you may also choose to build your own for this purpose.

3. Eliminate the bad and irrelevant
Growing up online has it benefits, but it also has some drawbacks. You need to be aware of all the not-so-good stuff that can pop up in a search, which may include everything from angst-ridden poetry from when you were 13 to websites where people may have posted rumours or insults about you. If you can’t delete or hide these, at least make sure the good things rank higher.

4. Curb questionable behaviour
Everyone acts differently at work compared to how they act around their friends. Online, this distinction is often blurry, so it’s good practice to behave as if future employers are watching. This is the same rule you should apply whether you are engaging with others on social media or commenting on blogs and news articles. This means no negative behaviour such as posting anything unnecessarily aggressive or defamatory in nature.

5. Be yourself
While you don’t want potential employers to stumble upon something embarrassing and get the wrong idea about you, having an immaculate digital footprint is also a little unnerving. Authenticity wins over ‘too good to be true’, so don’t be afraid to be human.

The web is a great tool used by employers to find and research potential employees. Make sure you’re on their radar and primed to give the right impression when they do.

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