How to manage your digital footprint
It’s important to remember that what you do and say online leaves behind something called a ‘digital footprint’.
This is made up of the things you share and the information collected about you by different sites and services. Your digital footprint lasts forever so it’s a good idea to ensure it shows you in the best light.
These days, many of us share thoughts, opinions and a record of our social activity online without a second thought. Social media platforms provide a great medium for sharing ideas, connecting with the people around us and even looking for work.
But just as you might research a business you want to work for, many employers also check a candidate’s online activity when they apply for jobs. It’s therefore worth considering when sharing or adding content online: if your co-worker, manager or potential employer were to search your name, what might they find? Is there anything on your social media profiles that you wouldn’t like them to see?
Have a look through the following example posts to help you start thinking critically about what you should and shouldn’t share online. What do you think, should you post or delete?
Two Saturday shifts in a row? #nothankyou
Delete. Complaining about your job online is never a good idea, even if you don’t consider your post to be that serious. This might not come across well to the organisation you work for or any future ones.
Just closed my first big deal with @investech, get in!
Check first. If you’re posting about something that’s happening at work, make sure it’s not confidential before sharing.
Told my friends at work I was having a bad week and they surprised me with cake at lunch #bestcolleaguesever
Post. There’s nothing wrong with shouting about the kindness of your friends and colleagues!
3 things that make for a toxic work environment: poor communication, micromanagement and a leadership team that don’t take mental health seriously.
Delete. Avoid sharing anything negative about the working world that an employer might take to be a comment on your current or future role. Instead, share posts that have a positive take on the topic you are interested in.
SO proud to have been a part of the #holdmeup campaign – such an important issue, great to see it getting the attention it deserves.
Post. As long as what you’re posting about is public knowledge, there’s nothing wrong with sharing your professional interests and successes online – it could even help get you noticed by future employers.
Super excited to share I’ll be taking on a new role at @JiveMedia! Really looking forward to joining such a dynamic and forward-thinking team.
Post. Sharing the next step in your career journey is a great way to keep your network updated.
Does anyone know of a retail job going in the Greater Manchester area?
Post. Social media can be a great networking tool for finding work!
To help you navigate the digital landscape wisely, take a look at these top tips:
- It goes without saying, but avoid talking about offensive topics, sharing explicit material or interacting with provocative discussions online. Even engaging with someone else’s controversial post can leave you open to misinterpretation or scrutiny – reposting something shared by someone else might suggest that you agree with them. Be sure to stop and think before you post an opinion: could somebody else find it offensive or hurtful? What would a prospective employer think?
- Control who has access to your posts and personal information by setting your accounts to private. It's a good idea to review the specific privacy settings on each platform you use to ensure you have the desired level of privacy.
- Review the content on each of your social media profiles regularly and remove anything that might be perceived as unprofessional or compromising.
- Remember that even if your accounts are private and you’re keeping on top of old content to make sure there’s nothing potentially damaging on your profiles, old photos and posts can resurface.
- Before you post, ask yourself the question: ‘would I be okay with my employer seeing this?’. Posting about work might be fine if you’re talking about how much you’re enjoying your role, sharing work-related news or shouting out a co-worker’s achievements. Just steer clear of complaining about your job, grumbling about your boss or sharing anything that might be deemed private company information. If you’re unsure, best not to post about work at all.
Make sure your footprint sends the right message about who you are – no matter who’s reading.
Visit Barclays Digital Wings where you will find short courses on various social media platforms: how to make the most of them, stay up to date and stay safe.