Own and Manage Your Digital Footprint Before it Hurts Your Career Prospects

Roughly one in every three people is actively using sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and others. It is probably safe to assume that your future employers are amongst them.

Learn how employers are using social media to find out as much as possible about potential recruits. And how you could be using social networks to your advantage in your search for the perfect job.

Linking into Opportunities

The professional social network, LinkedIn, is increasingly being used by recruiters as a way of screening candidates ahead of inviting them in for interview. We know that employers will also sometimes base interview questions on what they see or read on a LinkedIn profile.

What does that mean for you?

Well, an obvious first step is to ensure that if you have a LinkedIn profile, it is up to date. You will want to make sure your achievements and qualifications really pop. Information about your studies, career goals, as well as what you are doing to meet them should be clearly expressed  and do not forget that LinkedIn gives you the option of showcasing your experiences in a variety of formats. Make sure you add Cisco Networking Academy as part of your education section.

You should also check out the option to see who has been looking at your profile. Could be that an HR professional who has viewed your profile sees you as a potential candidate for a role? Why not return the favor and check out their company? There might be fit or an open position for you to apply to.

What is Your Digital Footprint?

Have you ever Googled yourself? No? Well it might interest you to know that a lot of recruiters will do a search for you online if they think you might be right for a job. So what would you like them to find out about you?

Depending on the kind of job or sector you end up working in, your digital footprint can have greater or lesser importance. But one thing is for sure—being mindful about what you post or do or say publicly is a good policy if you want to minimize or avoid a nasty surprise.

Sometimes your digital presence will be the first contact an employer will have with you. So what do you want them to think? If your career aspirations take you in a certain direction, does it make sense that the ideas or content you post or share have a degree of alignment? Similarly, once you end up working for a company or an organization, you might want to think about whether what you project online is consistent with the values of your employer.

How to Make Sure Social Networks Work for You

Our experts all agree on one thing: you should be active socially online. If you are looking to work in technology, it makes sense that you are using the Internet to network and connect. And that you have a solid and well-crafted online presence.

We know that LinkedIn is a key tool for you, in your quest for the right job. More than the traditional resume, a well-constructed LinkedIn profile can tell the story of your studies, interests, career achievements, and aspirations in a compelling and relevant way. As well as indicate how you are connected to your peers and you may have common links between recruiters.

You can update your profile whenever you want, request recommendations and endorsements, showcase your work, and build out your connections. You can also apply for jobs directly on LinkedIn.

Depending on where you live, LinkedIn may or may not have a consolidated presence, so look for the professional networking site with greatest traction and activity in your region. And if you are on LinkedIn, don’t forget to check out the Networking Academy group for tips, insights, and information on careers. Many recruiters and hiring managers post open positions in the group, so you can use it as an additional way to connect with job opportunities.

Twitter and Facebook

Our team recommends that as a job seeker, you think strategically about how you use Facebook and Twitter. Always remember that both sites are public spaces, so be comfortable with others having access to what you post. It is especially important to remember to resist ranting about your coworkers, manager, or company on any social space—as it could be used against you. Once information is on the Internet, assume it will never be taken off.

Ensure your privacy settings and groups for clustering friends are at the levels best suited for you—especially if you have become friends with your coworkers on Facebook.

Twitter in particular can be a useful tool for aspiring tech professionals. As a source of links to really useful information, Twitter is in some ways second to none. Find and follow interesting profiles on Twitter to keep up to speed with the latest thinking in technology. And although Twitter is not about building relationships the same that LinkedIn or Facebook are, you can still connect with others you might be interested in networking with that you do not directly know.

So there it is. The signs are that social networking is not going away. And that, increasingly, being savvy with social media might just give you that all important edge in the job market.