Everything about you today is digitised and stored online which means important data about you can be stored in the cloud, indefinitely. This can pose an issue if there’s anything bad about your digital footprint and can have a negative affect when dealing with recruiters and potential employers in the future. If you’re worried, use these five tips to find (and remove) the dirt – before they do.
What kinds of things can a recruiter or future employer find out about me?
The amount of information they can find about you online is now vast. From your educational history, court records, tax records and real estate records – to your social media posts, twitter comments, employment history and your credit rating. All of these and more are accessible through fairly straightforward means. All someone needs is the motivation, and a little money, to find them.
What are the five tips for protecting my online digital footprint?
Look into finding information about you from the following five types of searches that recruiters and employers routinely do:
Don’t limit yourself to just Google, but definitely do start by Googling yourself. Try variations of your name and make sure you cover any alternate nicknames or legal names. If you are super keen, watch out for people with the same name as you, who may lead an employer to believe it is you. Your headshot image within your social media profiles and your country location should help here.
-Social Media, forums and Blogs
Go through everything you’ve posted to Facebook and other social media and forum sites. Make sure to check any alternate accounts and aliases. Focus on getting rid of any pictures or embarrassing forum postings you may have thought were a good idea in the past.
This will take a little more digging, but most public records are now being digitised. Use municipal databases available online to search for the same information and employer will when they do a background check: criminal record, real estate records, etc. Annually redo this type of search to make sure nothing erroneous has been added.
The Fair Credit Report Act (or similar in other countries) gives you access to your credit report each year from each of the credit reporting bureaus or agencies. Make use of this to keep on top of what is being put on those reports as employers make use of these now as well.
Call up any previous employers and find out what they are going to report to a prospective employer when asked. Check your social media profiles for what previous companies you state you worked for. You never know, these could be contacted as well. Generally though, they will only contact past employers that you state they can contact on your resume or CV.
Obtain your records from any educational and training courses you have attended. Make sure to confirm any professional certifications and training as well. This is often the source of much confusion when applying for a new role.
The above types of searches and background checks have become really inexpensive, easy, and routine for most current and future employers to do. Make sure you know what is going to be found, ensure it is accurate and that you have removed anything embarrassing or incriminating about you. Your online digital footprint is now vital in your quest to secure your next position or contract.