Make your digital footprint an asset for job searches using these tips

Every social media post, every Google search and every Amazon purchase helps define your online presence. These “digital footprints” tell a story about who you are, where you have been and what you want, which makes them valuable to companies looking to market products or services.

In the same manner, digital footprints can also help employers assess whether you are a good fit for their company, making it even more important to make your digital first impression a positive one.

Michael Mullis, career services manager for Purdue’s College of Liberal Arts, has heard first-hand from employers how much of an impact a candidate’s online presence can have.

“Many employers will seek out a candidate’s social media presence, even when the candidate does not supply that information,” Mullis says. “Employers want to know if candidates can carry themselves in a professional way.”

Your online activity weighs into assessing that professionalism.

Here are two strategies to create a professional profile for employers.

  1. Oversharing on publicly accessible profiles or posting inappropriate thoughts or images can all impact the perception of your professionalism. Mullis says if candidates avoid such posts, social media can be a mostly positive platform for job searches. With platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, researching potential employers, sharing your résumé and creating a network of friends and family can boost your job search.
  2. Look at your profile as if you were an employer. What attributes stick out to you? Are they positive and professional? Do they match an organization’s culture and mission? If you do not want to tailor your Twitter feed or Facebook profile to be a professional asset, altering your privacy settings can help keep employers from accessing them.
Additional tips for online profiles:

Neil Patel, an online influencer and entrepreneur recognized by the Wall Street Journal and Forbes Magazine, believes there are 10 elements crucial to a positive online profile, including your username, profile picture and indicated interests. All of these puzzle pieces come together to create an employer’s first impression of you, so be mindful of what they reflect.