1. Your digital footprint

In today's job market having a professional online presence is essential, whether you are a first year student searching for part time work, or looking for your first job after graduation. Your online presence is sometimes called your "digital footprint".

Digital education and social media expert, Nicola Osborne, in What Do Your Digital Footprints Say About You? (YouTube, 8m23s), defines our digital footprint as "the data you leave behind when you go online" and encourages us to tread carefully on social media and consider what our digital footprint might reveal. For information on how to check your digital footprint see the digital citizenship module.

Your digital footprint can affect your employability. eRecruitment is becoming more prevalent with employers admitting to looking at a candidate's online profile before an interview. Your online presence or personal branding could affect the way a potential employer views you.

While this may seem intimidating, most employers are seeking additional ways to justify hiring someone.

One way to see what employers might find out about you online is to perform a “vanity search” (i.e. searching your own name in a search engine).

Try this with your name using multiple search engines and see what results are retrieved. 

Posting an image of a night out onto Facebook, YouTube or Instagram, may not be the first impression you want to give to employers.  Be mindful about what you post or what you tag others in as things posted on the internet remain there forever.

 Attention young professionals! What's in your digital baggage? (YouTube, 1m51s)

Avoid the following on social media:

  • Posting provocative images, text or video that includes personal information or inappropriate or obscene material
  • Displaying posts of drug use or drinking
  • Writing blogs or posts of a discriminating nature relating to race, gender or gender identity, relationship status, age, impairment or religious beliefs as per Australia's anti-discrimination law
  • Showing links or images portraying criminal behaviour
  • Using false information about qualifications or previous employment

Read about real examples of inappropriate use of social media impacting people's employment.

The following are examples of legal disputes caused by inappropriate social media use:


Creating a professional online presence

If your current social media account is mostly for catching up with friends and family and sharing experiences, consider creating an account on another platform specifically for professional use. The forthcoming social media module will provide more information. 

An alternative social media account will enable you to network with others in the areas where you are hoping to work; for example, setting up a Twitter account to follow researchers or future employers.

Watch Learning Personal Branding (LinkedIn Learning, 1m45s)

Access to LinkedIn Learning is available via the UQ Library website.


Set up a separate email account

It is good practice to have a separate email account specifically for professional use and making your personal accounts more private. Before setting up a professional email address, there are some things to consider:

  • Avoid nicknames or anything potentially unprofessional
  • Your UQ student email account is for life and has the advantage of already being in a professional format to contact employers rather than a personal one
  • Using your own domain name or email hosting site is another option

Read Student perceptions of peer credibility based on email addresses. Have you considered how your current personal email may reflect on your professional image?