If you searched for yourself online, what would you find?
Your personal search results are your digital footprint, the collection of your activities, actions and contributions that can be found on the Internet.
There are two types of digital footprints: passive and active. Passive footprints are the ones you leave involuntarily, like your browser history and the use of apps with geolocations. Active footprints, on the other hand, include the information you share voluntarily, from blog posts and images to social media activity.
Like it or not, most employers use social media to help screen candidates, and 54% reported passing on a candidate because of what they found. (Forty-four percent also reported finding information that contributed to them making the hire.)
Knowing this, when you think back to your online interactions, are they a positive representation of you to an employer? Are there any posts that may not be?
Here are six ways you can use social media to display your professionalism to the recruiters who Google you.
- Delete and untag as necessary.
For existing social posts, scroll through your pages and look for anything you’ve outgrown, come to regret or generally don’t want associated with you as a physician. This may involve editing or deleting old posts and untagging yourself in any post, photo or video shared by someone else.
- Avoid negative comments.
A pithy comment or reply may feel good in the moment, but 15 seconds of venting online isn’t worth a potential bad first impression before you’ve even been interviewed. Rethink posts demeaning current or previous employers, and don’t discriminate based on someone’s race, religion, sex or other protected status.
- Separate personal and professional posts.
It’s good to have a social presence. In fact, having no digital footprint at all can cause its own concerns. However, that’s doesn’t mean every post should be public.
Learn your social channels’ available privacy settings and how you can adjust who can see your posts.
Another option is to set up separate personal and professional accounts. This would allow you to better control who sees the posts intended for friends and family and those associated with your career and practice.
If setting up professional accounts, be sure you use the same name on all channels and that your profile image is appropriate and professional looking. Then look for opportunities to show your thought leadership in the industry and promote your practice.
- Post at the right time.
It’s easy to scroll through your social feeds during a quick break at work, but take note of how often you’re posting while on the clock. An occasional post or interaction is probably fine, but too much online activity while at work may lead people to think you’re more interested in posting than providing care.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread.
Just because the message is short doesn’t mean it can’t have a huge impact. Misspellings and poor grammar could make a bad first impression to recruiters or even lead to miscommunication. Anytime you post, double-check your spelling, grammar and syntax to ensure you deliver the intended message.
- Stay current.
It’s easy to forget about your bio information after first entering it. However, be sure to routinely review your bios to ensure they’re up to date and accurately describe your professional experience and the type of physician you are.