Is it time to tidy your digital footprint in 2020?

Its January 2020, and you have probably had a fantastic festive season with lots of food, drinks and socialising – which is great for the soul.  However, it may not be so great for your social media profile and if you are unemployed or looking for promotion, well it could potentially be damaging!  Why?  Your digital footprint is everywhere, and it needs to be professional across all platforms.  Think of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google.  Auditing how you appear to strangers online is a crucial process to undertake, especially after a jolly Christmas season.

Multiple studies show that more than 75% of employers actively research candidates online, and more than 70% have decided NOT to hire a candidate based on what they find.  Whether your online image (photos, tags and comments) are mildly scandalous or there is something more problematic there are ways to clean your digital footprint.

A “great” online presence will depend on the type of job you are searching for, however, conducting an audit is now part of 21st century life.  If you want to tidy your digital footprint in 2020, then here are some steps you should consider:

Google Yourself: 

Google your name and play around with the word search.  Employers, once they have your resumé or have seen your LinkedIn profile will Google “your name + your city + your last company” to start the pre-interview process.  Using quotes to surround “your name” forces the results to be a strict match.  So, pay attention to any Google autocompletes and run all those searches as well.  Scope Google for any images for anything that could give a prospective employer doubt.

Check Social Media

Assess all the platforms you are currently using and check those images and posts from friends or family.  Don’t assume people won’t scroll deep into your profile digging for extra details.  Use Facebook’s “View As” feature to see how your profile looks to others.  Use the “Limit Past Posts” feature to change the visibility or click the “Manage Posts” button to perform bulk updates like deleting or hiding certain posts.   Finally search your name on Facebook to see what random comments come up, and then delete accordingly.   If you use LinkedIn, make sure your profile is an accurate representation of you and your picture is professional (no sunglasses, rude slogans on shirts, nudity, tank tops, string bikinis or silly hats!)

Delete the Information:

One option is to permanently remove damaging listings from Google search results, known as “de-indexing” or “suppression”.  This is where Google agrees to physically remove that URL from the search results because it violates something such as Australian defamation law.  There are companies that do this type of service for a fee – such as Removify .   However, this process takes weeks as Google needs to “catch-up” and notice that images and social posts of you have been removed.

Market Your Merits: 

Start being proactive and positive with how you present online.  Do this yourself by maintaining an up to date online presences and revise all your personal branding at different career junctures.  OK sure you may have made a mistake three years ago, so acknowledge it and move on.  For example, let potential employers know you can learn from mistakes, are willing to learn, adaptable to change and you have a good sense of humour.  It could make all the difference!

If you need assistance with re-branding your professional image and content, especially on LinkedIn, contact Julie for more information.