Is Your Digital Footprint Helping-or Hurting--Your Career?

Robert Hosking's picture

Virtually everyone leaves some sort of “digital footprint” these days with their internet activity, and it’s important to make sure your online reputation is positive. For those in the job market, it’s critical to be mindful of what information you’re sharing and with whom and that the content presents a professional image. Many employers are performing online searches in an attempt to learn more about prospective hires, including their interests, hobbies and industry involvement.Even if you’re not currently looking for a job, you don’t want to run the risk of your boss discovering something unfavorable about you on the internet.

Follow these tips to manage your digital footprint:

  • Do your research. Find out what information is already posted about you by typing your first and last name into popular search engines. You also can check alumni sites, websites of organizations to which you belong and blogs and personal web pages of your friends, family members or coworkers.
  • Monitor the conversation. Set alerts using Google or other tracking services like Technorati under your name so you can receive an email notification every time something new is said about you online.
  • Make the right connections. Be selective about who you allow into your social networks because potential employers may reach out to these individuals for insights on you. Having the right contacts could also mean an opportunity to learn about relevant job openings quicker than others.
  • Keep it fresh. Regularly update your social media profilesand be active professionally. Post useful advice or comment on articles on LinkedIn and industry forums to enhance your digital footprint.
  • Get the picture. Make sure photos that are visible in your profiles and on social media sites are professional. Untag yourself from any inappropriate images.
  • Exercise discretion. When commenting on personal homepages, blogs or social networking sites, give thought as to how your statements may be interpreted if seen by people outside your community. And never say anything rude or inappropriate about your company or those you work with. You never know who might see it!
  • Activate privacy settings. Adjust your privacy settings or create different lists of friends on sites such as Facebook to control who has access to what information.


Robert Hosking is executive director of OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. Come to the OfficeTeam interactive session at EFAM 2014, “The New Rules in Career Advancement” on Wednesday, July 30 from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. to hear more from Robert and get career advice from our staffing managers. More information can be found at You can also connect with OfficeTeam on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+and the OfficeTeam blog.