Managing Your Digital Footprint

In a recent blog, we explained what a Digital Footprint was. We learned that your digital footprint begins before you are born and expands continually. It is created as much by what others put online about you as well as what you put out there yourself. We also highlighted that much goes on in the background via other companies, as you interact with the world digitally. Now that we understand it, let’s discuss ways to manage your Digital Footprint.

Benefits of a Digital Footprint

When done wrong, your digital footprint can be detrimental, but it’s not all doom and gloom. When they’re done right, a digital footprint can provide you with a great first impression. A strong online presence, or digital footprint, can be a career asset in today’s competitive job market. Many employers are performing online searches, in addition to reviewing resumes and cover letters, in an attempt to learn about prospective hires, including their interests, industry involvement and, more important, their ability to market themselves effectively.

From Kaplan’s College Admissions Officer Survey: 35% of those who Googled candidates discovered something that negatively impacted their application.

70 Percent Of Employers Check Candidates’ Social Media Profiles. CareerBuilder survey (Sep 2018)

So how can you manage your digital footprint? Here are a few places to start:

  • Google yourself: Take inventory of what’s out there. Search for your name every few months, so you’re cognizant of the information others have access to.
  • Remove: any photos, content, and links that may be inappropriate or reveal too much information. Also remove yourself from any sites you have signed up for that you no longer use. Go to the site and close your account.
  • Set up Google alerts: Set up a Google alert for your name. The tool will then send you occasional alerts of every post that has your name on it.
  • Monitor: Since many comments on public websites can be publicly seen, monitor and moderate comments associated with you to maintain a positive digital footprint.
  • Be selective about who you authorize to access your information.
  • Protect your personal data: Don’t disclose your personal address, phone number, passwords or bank card numbers. Consider using a nickname instead of your real name.
  • Keep login info under lock and key: Never share any of your usernames or passwords with anyone.
  • Think before you post: Build your reputation through your behavior. Never put a temporary emotion on the permanent internet. Anger is temporary; online lasts forever. Pause before you post: Think twice, post once.
  • Nix the pics: Any photo you post could be dug up some day. Limit your sharing of questionable images. Fifteen minutes of humor is never worth a lifetime of potential humiliation

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