Digital Footprint

Can you enhance your digital footprint?

By John Rudland

​When it comes to job hunting, it’s easy to focus solely on your CV and your personal statement, but are you aware of what your digital footprint is saying about you? Can you enhance your online reputation to improve your employability?

In today’s online world, everything we do can leave a trail – from our public tweets and LinkedIn profile through to the images we choose to share on Instagram and Facebook. If you’re applying for a new social work job role, particularly one within a senior managerial position, it’s important that you feel confident that your online reputation represents the professional image that you want to project to a prospective new employer.

Thanks to public profiles and open privacy settings, it’s now easier than ever before for hiring managers to research candidates online before or after an interview. This is why we are sharing our advice to help you improve your online footprint and feel confident that your digital reputation accurately reflects your professionalism.

Search yourself on Google

Have you ever done a quick search of your name on Google? This may be the first thing that an employer does before offering you a job. If you’re involved with organisations such as BASW regional groups or your local safeguarding boards then it is likely that your name will appear in the search listings. Similarly, if you’ve been working in a senior position such as a Team Manager or Interim Director of Service, then you may have been featured in press articles or interviews about your team, especially if you’ve been recognised in awards (such as the Social Worker of the Year Awards). This could be beneficial in helping you effectively showcase your experience.

Many people are unaware that if you have a public profile on social media, Google Images can pull out pictures that you've been tagged in, even if you haven’t uploaded them yourself. If you do find any images that cause you concern, then it may be prudent to ask for the image to be removed.

Is your LinkedIn profile up to date?

Another key tip is to ensure that your LinkedIn profile is updated and accurately reflects your submitted CV. If it’s wildly different, then a hiring manager could have reservations or ask you tricky questions during your interview.

LinkedIn is a fantastic professional tool that can enhance your digital footprint. If you’re involved in any professional groups or you regularly post insightful comments or detailed articles on your profile, then it can demonstrate your knowledge and encourage people to want to work alongside you.

A key consideration is that articles written and posted on LinkedIn can appear within Google searches, so if you have the capacity to write your thoughts about niche areas of interest then it could effectively boost your profile within search engines.

The balance of formal and informal language

There’s a cliché that says “never post anything online that you’re not happy for your boss to see” and this is something that is definitely true.

With open privacy settings on most social media sites, it’s easy to see what candidates are saying online about a wide range of subjects, which may not necessarily be relevant to your profession. In some instances, this could be beneficial – if you show your personality and your interests then you can start to build positive relationships and share mutual interests with potential colleagues and/or the people that you are providing care and support for.

A top tip is to remember that if your accounts are publicly visible (and most social media sites are open by default), you should think about your choice of language. If your profiles are littered with spelling mistakes and poor grammar, an employer may have concerns about your ability to complete administrative tasks or your communication skills. Employers won’t expect you to always use formal language on your personal accounts, but it should reflect the image that you want to project.

If you would like some further guidance on how you can enhance your digital footprint, then please get in touch with our dedicated Executive team.