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What a Potential Or Current Employer Learns When They Follow Your Digital Footprint- Tips on Making Sure your Social Media is Employer Friendly

 “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffet

That would have to be one of my favorite quotes when we’re talking about jobs, making money and business.

In the age of social media the lines between your personal and professional life are blurred. ‘What happens on tour stays on tour’ is a luxury only afforded to the year of old.  In our modern age any offensive or ill thought comment, meme or photo could lose you your job or prevent you from securing a job you have applied for.

Private vs Public – Representing Your Employer

If you are employed you are a representative of your employer at all times.  These rules are not new but the all-pervasive nature of social medias. If two employees became violent at a work function or failed a drug and alcohol test this could result in instant dismissal, particularly if the incident was extremely public or made it to the mainstream media. Back in the day that meant the newspaper or the evening news. In our new age of technology it means whoever was in the room to bare witness.

If your actions brought yourself and therefore your employer into disrepute and there were clear policies around such things your employment could be on the line.
Likewise with your behavior online. How you interact with others, the information you ‘like’ and ‘share’, the websites you ‘belong’ to is all right there, out in public for any employer, potential or not to find.

Hopefully by now you realize that you are your digital footprint and online presence, my advice is to act according to how you want to be perceived. Remember that once it is up online, it is virtually impossible to get it back down.

Tips and Tricks to Keeping Your Private Life Private and Your Boss Happy

Everything you do or say is public relations.” – Unknown
None of us are perfect so how can we take steps to ensure we leave a ‘clean’ digital footprint?

Here are a few common sense tips to help guide you when you are searching for new employment, are already employed or simply want to be more careful online.

  1. Don’t give out  your contact details such as email addresses and phone numbers in public forums, this is recommended for everyone. Taking it a step further, lock down your personal details on any social media platform. Unless you are actively networking and want people to know who you work for or represent.
  2. Never forget the ‘screen shot’. Even if you regret your actions later, the ability to take screen shots and share them in an instant makes the risk to your job even higher. If you wouldn’t say it at a formal event, don’t write it online even on your ‘private’ profile or as a ‘private’message. Nothing online is ever 100% private.
  3. If you want to be really safe – say nothing at all. Don’t share anything about your past (or current) employer or colleagues that is less than positive. Words are always being taken out of context. Once said words can never be taken back.
  4. “Smile, you’re on camera!” Ensure tagging in posts or photos can only appear to the public with your permission and remember that a racist costume at a fancy dress party in your university days may come back to bite you in the butt.Hopefully your friends will have more sense than to share such things publicly but be prepared to untag and beg for deletion and never forget the screen shot.
  5. It’s okay to be a bit ‘vain’ or lets call it ‘cautious’. Google yourself regularly so you know what potential new employers will find when they do a search themselves! What’s that old rule? “Never leave the house without first looking in the mirror?” Well the same notion can be applied to your online footprint. It’s a reflection of you.
  6. Wherever possible, keep your personal and professional life separate. Many employers have clear policies around social media with customers or co-workers.Teachers, students and parents are a good example people restricted from social media contact, except in approved forums.

In an ideal world we would all be wonderfully polite, courteous and an have abundance of common sense. Unfortunately or fortunately. Whichever way you chose to look at it, we aren’t. We are all only human but our human actions and responses could end up losing us a job or prevent us from being hired for a new one.

Protect yourselves people. Be smart. Be Kind. Be aware.