We‘re all going to find that the permanent digital trail we
leave will come back to visit us
It's very easy to forget that what happens online is permanent.
Hitting the Delete button just means the questionable content
disappears from the screen. But every keystroke of your online
activity is being recorded. Permanently.
It's no secret that hiring managers and recruiters are now using
social media in all phases of the selection process. And this new
digital ‘detective' work isn't new and is becoming increasingly routine.
In 2012, CareerBuilder.com surveyed
over 2,300 hiring managers and human resource professionals to ask if,
and how often, they incorporate social media into their hiring processes.
Their survey found that 37% of employers use social networks such as
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ to screen potential job
candidates. In other words, almost 40% of companies browse your social
media profiles to evaluate what kind of person you are. And some even
base their hiring decision on what they find.
"We‘re all going to find that the permanent digital trail we
leave will come back to visit us, sometimes in a positive form, but
certainly in ways that are both unexpected and unpredictable,"
said David Bartolo,
TAFE Bytes writer and Digital Media teacher at The Northern Sydney
Institute. "The digital artefacts of our online presence are
permanent, and anything you have ever created online can always be
retrieved, even if you think it's been deleted."
David is passionate about the use of appropriate technologies to
enhance the learning experience. But he is equally passionate about
warning his students, particularly younger people, about the potential
perils and pitfalls of their online behaviour.
"Even if you don't record things you are not proud of, maybe
your friends will," he said. "You may find yourself betrayed
by your friends (tagging you on Facebook), your games (why were you
playing Angry Birds at the beach when you were meant to be sick?) or
your phone (yes, everything you do on it, including where you are, can
be traced and is being permanently stored).
David believes that now is always a good time to begin building your
online reputation. And the best part is that it isn't rocket science -
it's simply employing some common sense whenever you're online. Things
like avoiding making insulting and derogatory remarks about people,
thinking carefully about the photos, memes, posts and articles that
you upload or share, even your spelling and grammar, all of which can
be laid bare for any potential employer to scrutinise.
"The more positive data that is stored about you on the Web, the
less that negative data will impact your image," said
David. "Try to create both professional and personal profiles on
any social media, and don't let them cross over."