What does your digital footprint say about you?
In Part 3 of her series as a guest writer for Ribit, Fiona McLean, CEO of The Social Index, talks about fixing up your digital footprint to make a great first impression.
First impressions matter and now that many first meetings are via a screen, your digital footprint is more important than ever. Making a great first impression is as much about what you say and how you show up as well as what happens before and after the meeting. Making sure your digital footprint helps people find the “best you” can be a great way to truly make a memorable first impression.
Your digital footprint can have a positive and significant effect on your future. Imagine you are looking for a job, and you apply to a company that is very interested in hiring you. What happens if they try to find information about you online? Will they find any embarrassing photos? Will they find you following professional organisations? Will they find any controversial statements? Will they find incredible insight? Will they find information that confirms you are perfect for their business?
What is a digital footprint?
Your digital footprint is simply anything that someone else can find out about you online. All the interactions you have on the internet make up what’s known as your “digital footprint” – the trail of information that you leave behind every time you do something online. This can include:
- Website Comments – especially those linked to a full name.
- Blogs/Blog Posts – posts and comments you’ve written.
- Social Media – in all forms where you have a presence.
- Other People’s Blogs/Websites – posts and comments written about you.
- Public Records and More – information shared by third parties that collect data.
Having social media profiles that accurately and positively represent you and your professional ambitions, can create a number of networking opportunities, and open doors that may lead to your dream jobs/employers contacting you, filling your inbox with requests for you and your abilities.
You want them to find the “best you.”
Your digital footprint can be one of your greatest assets for your career. Some professionals have an outstanding digital footprint because they’ve been able to control what occurs under their name, and they’ve successfully (whether actively or accidentally) marketed themselves positively. You can control your digital footprint, and if you embrace that control, you can make a great first impression on employers and future teammates and be part of conversations that matter to you and your career goals.
Understanding your digital footprint – getting started.
When thinking about how your digital footprint can help you make a great first impression, a good place to start is to consider what are the 3 things you want the other person to remember about you? Then google yourself to see if this is reflected in what you find about yourself. It may also help to ask trusted friends and family to do this for you as well so you can get a well-rounded perspective on what is working and not working for you.
Once you know the gaps you need to fix the next step is to complete the relevant online profiles. It’s important to make sure you are showing your key strengths and capabilities, your interests, and your personality. This will help future employers understand how you can help their business and increase opportunities for better conversations about what motivates you, and how they can help you reach your career goals.
Finally, keeping the conversation active. This can be as simple as liking a post, resharing it or being part of the conversation by making comments. Additionally, sharing your own insights via comments or your own posts, photos of you at industry events or with thought leaders you admire, can help give additional evidence of your fit for the role.
In this digital age, making a great first impression online and in real life is still important. Take full advantage of great opportunities to really make a great impression. Take action now to review your digital footprint and how you show up online to be your best self.
To learn more about how to analyse your digital footprint and explore your online profile, contact The Social Index today and find out more about your online history and how it may affect your employment chances.
Follow Fiona on @thesocialindex on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for more insights.