Your digital footprint. It’s something you might not have given much thought to, but chances are your current or previous employers have. In fact, a survey found that 70% of employers “use social media to screen candidates before hiring.”
In 2023, it’s more essential than ever for everyone to keep their online presence clean before applying for jobs or other opportunities. Your digital footprint is the sum of your entire online activity — from the posts you make on social media to the information you store online and even the emails you send. It’s all a part of who you are and how potential employers view you as a candidate.
Take inventory of your current digital footprint
Having a clean digital footprint can mean the difference between getting hired or not. Employers have access to more information now than ever before, including search engine results and social media accounts, so it’s important to ensure that everything looks professional and accurate. Taking proactive steps to update — and maintain — your digital footprint is crucial in order to avoid any misunderstandings or misrepresentations that could cost you a job opportunity.
First things first: take inventory. Review all of your online profiles; this includes social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as any personal websites or blogs. Remove anything that could be seen as offensive or inappropriate by potential employers. Something you thought was funny in college might not reflect your current persona. If you aren’t sure about a post, consider archiving or hiding it instead of deleting it. That way, you can remove the post from the public eye without permanently removing it, giving you time to think about it.
Also take into consideration how much information you’d like to be public. Think about who you follow, and are ultimately associated with, in addition to what you’re tagged in.
Update with positive information
The next step? Add positive information to your digital footprint. And this time of year is the perfect time to do so — your accomplishments are currently top of mind from doing year-end reviews. Update your social media profiles with current information and appropriate, professional photos.
Optimize your social profiles — it’s important to have a clear and concise profile that accurately reflects your current skills, experience and expertise. Make sure you include any awards or accolades from past employers, as this will show recruiters that you’re dedicated and motivated when it comes to your work.
Commit to maintaining a positive digital presence going forward. Perform an annual check-in of your digital footprint, including reviewing all posts that you created or were tagged in, using professional language in online communications, and ensuring your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date with your accomplishments.
Here’s a guide to get you started on highlighting your accomplishments.