The Digital Cleanse

What is the first thing you do when you are looking for a job?.. You go online and Google jobs that interest you; you Google companies that you want to work for.  Most people stopped looking in the newspaper classifies a long time ago.  Employers have also changed their hiring methods.  Sure you still have to submit your CV, but your resume is not the only thing future employers are looking at. Now your digital footprint is almost as important as what you put on your CV.

I had a friend from college that was a brilliant computer programmer.  He had his masters in Computer Science, and he had experience programming for multiple companies.  He thought he was set to get any job that he wanted.  His hobby though was his blog, which was a pretty distasteful collection of provocative pictures and clips, ramblings about conspiracy theories, and disturbing stories.  One day he decided to post a link to his blog on his Myspace page (this was when MySpace was big).  Months later when he was interviewing for his dream job in Hawaii, this post ruined his chances of getting it.  I can’t even imagine the embarrassment he felt when they brought up his blog in the live interview.

His experience made me realize how important it is to have a positive digital footprint.  You better Google yourself before considering to apply for your next big job and make sure that your image online fits the one you represented on your CV.  Here are some articles that might help you clean up your digital footprint, if it needs cleaning up…

How to Stop Employers Digging your Digital Dirt – I like idea #10 in this article

Google Alerts is a very handy tool for real time alerts about anything, in this case yourself. Punch in your name in inverted commas, set it to send you updates as soon as you are mentioned online. This way you will be able to monitor yours whenever your name is mentioned anywhere on an ongoing basis.”

Cleaning Up Your Digital Dirt  –Eve Tahmincioglu says “What happens on the Internet tends to stay on the Internet.” and it is true.  She mentions an interview with C. David Gammel, a corporate technology consultant and writes that he suggests “burying the Internet skeletons in positive cyber dust.”

“Gammel believes in burying the Internet skeletons in positive cyber dust. “Once the less savory items are pushed off your first page of ego search results on Google, you’ll be fine with most people,” he notes. “That’s why you have to post more, not less, to get rid of the impact of those skeletons.”

I really like this idea, because it encourages you to have a bigger digital footprint instead of erasing every trace you have on the Internet.  Employers are looking to hire people with positive digital footprints.  Not having a digital footprint is almost as bad as having a shameful one.  Having no online  identity tells future employers that you probably don’t have very good computer skills.  It means that you don’t use social media, you don’t blog about things that are important to you, and that you probably don’t keep up with the times.  The Internet is a free promotion tool for yourself.  Why not advertise yourself in a positive light and get that dream job.  Why not share your expertise through a blog, making your ideas and your knowledge more accessible to the world.

As an international educator, with competition for jobs being fierce, having a positive, and sizable digital presence is a good idea, and it absolutely can’t hurt.  I certainly need to work on mine between midnight feedings and tummy time – COETAIL is helping 🙂

Footprint
Trying out Compfight.com

Photo Credit: pixelsrzen via Compfight cc

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