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The ABCs of managing your digital footprint

Dr. Kevin Trowbridge, an assistant professor of public relations, discussed the ABCs of managing a digital footprint Monday during convocation.

“The reality is that prospective employers, prospective anything actually, are investigating and uncovering your digital shadows, your digital footprints, all for the purposes of reducing uncertainty about you,” said Trowbridge.

The digital age has brought Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and many other means of keeping people up to date with people’s daily lives. Sometimes not a lot of thought goes into each post or tweet before it enters the digital space.

When it comes time for students or graduates to sit down for an interview, prospective bosses now have the ability to dig into a person’s life to see who he or she really is outside of a strict interview setting, said Trowbridge.

Forty-two percent of job recruiters “have reconsidered a candidate based on content viewed in a social profile, leading to both positive and negative reassessment,” according to a 2014 Jobvite Job Seeker Nation Study.

As of January 2014, 74 percent of adults used social media world wide, according to the PewResearch Internet Project. This leads to a lot room to accidently post something that may not help to get a job down the road.

Trowbridge encouraged the audience to think about its own digital shadow, the “perception created by others,” and brainstorm words each individual would want a prospective boss to think about him or her.

When prompted for an answer, words such as “positive,” “driven” and “love” were used as descriptive and favorable buzzwords.

“To manage your digital footprint–it begins with your brand,” said Trowbridge. “For what do you want to be known?”

Social media is an easy way to be branded and manage a digital footprint. By following Trowbridge’s recommended ABCs, rebranding an individual’s digital footprint is possible:

A: Audit your brand

B: Build your brand

C: Communicate your brand

D: Develop your brand

E: Engage your brand

The top social media site job recruiters look at in order to make hiring decisions are LinkedIn with 94 percent access, Facebook with 66 percent and Twitter with 52 percent, according to a Jobvite 2014 Social Recruiting Study.

Even though school is important, some things as seemingly innocent as posting a picture of a Friday night party can harm more than help future goals.

“Your degree at Belmont isn’t enough. It’s going to help you. The classes you have are going to help you, but the degree itself isn’t going to get you anywhere,” said Trowbridge. “It’s a reality, right? You have to do a lot more than just say, ‘Hey, I got my degree.’ The degree is just the threshold.”

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