By: Scott Sidway
Everyone has heard the term “digital footprint” by now. Heck, the concept is even being taught as early as middle school now.
But as a 27-year old (28 in just over a month) student that is going back to college for a second time that interacts with students between the ages of 18-22 regularly, I am starting to believe that many do not quite understand how impactful and long-lasting a digital footprint can be.
Think of it this way – when you walk in the sand or snow, your footprint sticks around for however long it takes for the next batch of snow or sand to cover it up.
Your digital footprint is more like walking through wet cement. That mark STAYS there for a long, long time (if not forever).
Because of the evolution of social media sites and how available they are to the younger generation, we are entering a world where more and more potential job-seekers will be more heavily scrutinized for old social media posts than ever before. Think about your personality and mindset as a 6th grader. Now pretend that sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and others at your disposal to flaunt your personality, air your dirty laundry, share your shenanigans with your friends, etc.
Maybe some of you that are reading this actually did have access to those sites in 6th grade. But whether you did use social media at that young of an age or not, it needs to be known that employers, now more than ever before, are using sites like Facebook and Twitter to judge whether or not a potential employee would be a good cultural fit for the company. According to the link (a blog by social media expert Kim Garst), 37% of employers use social media to make a hiring decision, and nearly 2 out of 3 at least checked social media sites to see if the candidate presented him or herself professionally.
Also in that link are tips on how to prep your “social media resume” prior to ever interviewing for a job, but I’ll let the blogger explain those tips more in depth.
The thing to remember though is that even while you may not be interviewing for a job now, in the next week, month, or any time in the foreseeable future, your digital footprint is still being examined by somebody. That “somebody” could be anyone from a bored friend at school to a headhunter that works for a recruiting firm whose sole purpose is to match candidates to companies.
And wouldn’t it be an absolute shame if someone dismisses your ability to be an effective employee because of a picture, video, or status you posted on Facebook before you even had a driver’s license?
Your job interview is happening right now, whether you know it or not.