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How visible is your Digital Footprint?

It’s important to think of your online presence when looking for jobs. If you’re doing it, are you doing it well? If you have no online presence, why not?! It’s one of the major ways to network; to find opportunities, connect with employers or industry professionals, and showcase your skills as a candidate – outside of the traditional interview process.

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There are plenty of networks out there to get you started but not all of them should be considered. Think about the industry you are aiming at and see which networks the main influencers are using. There’s no point in you putting time and effort into a profile that people from your sector won’t see.

LinkedIn is a great place to start as it’s a professional network. Here you have a chance to put down your skills and experience to act like an online CV. Not only can you use the extra opportunity to evidence the assertions you have made on your traditional CV or application form, you can also find connections to companies you’re interested in. Once you start building up your network, from your friends, family, and past/present work colleagues, you’ll be surprised how far it can reach!

Make sure that you have connected your profiles together; publicise your Twitter feed on your LinkedIn page and visa-versa. If you have a blog where you are talking about new advances in your industry then you can link to recent or relevant posts there. Linking your pages makes it easier for people to see your information. See this article for more information on how to complete your LinkedIn profile so that it’s easier to find in a Google search.

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Once you’re online you need to keep aware of your online presence and, in particular, what we call your ‘digital footprint’. This is information about you online that may be available to anyone searching your name. A strong digital footprint can be a good thing as it means someone won’t have to try too hard to find your information but you may have old social network profiles or public photos that you’re tagged in but would rather remain private. Start by ‘Googling’ yourself and seeing what is first to show up. (Remember to log out of your social networks first so you can see what information is available to someone who isn’t a connection/friend.)

Start with your name and see what comes up, then gradually add more information. This would be information that you would normally see on a CV, such as your location, degree title, clubs and societies, etc. Use services like 123people.com or the Online ID Calculator which are sites for checking what’s on the internet linked to you. Then start cleansing your information so that the professional stuff is easy to find and protect your social activity so that it’s only open to your friends and those you can trust. (Two ways to start with this is to check your privacy settings and, if you do connect with work colleagues/employers on Facebook, create lists to limit who sees your posts)

The more information linked to your name. You want your professional image, which you’re promoting to a potential employer, to be consistent and not contradicted by other information. This is why it’s important to think of yourself as a brand. Brands tend to have consistent messages about themselves across any medium, make sure you do the same.

 

 

For more information on Social Networks, including an i-Spy tutorial on your Professional Profile, visit our Social Network Branding page on StudyNet

 

Photo credits: LeWeb13 cc, Marek Bernat

 

Jerome Price Photograph

Jerome Price is an Employment and Placements Adviser in the Careers and Placements Service at the University of Hertfordshire

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