Aims and objectives

This module will:

  • explore how your digital footprint can affect your professional image
  • help you use online networking platforms to develop your professional profile
  • explore platforms to enhance your digital skills.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • maintain a professional online presence
  • use your professional presence to connect with others and increase your employability
  • build a portfolio that showcases your digital skills to employers.

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.

Our digital footprint is the data we leave behind when we use the internet. It is important to consider what your digital footprint might reveal to others. 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.

Perform a vanity search to see what employers might find out about you online.

Search your own name in a search engine, such as Google. Try this 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 can remain there forever.

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

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:

If you do have content online that could affect your employability, take steps to remove it. The Social media module outlines some ways to do this.

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.

An alternative social media account will enable you to network with others in the areas where you are hoping to work, such as 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.

Set up a separate email account

It is good practice to have a separate email account specifically for professional use and keep your personal accounts for private use. To set up a professional email address:

  • Avoid nicknames or anything potentially unprofessional.
  • Gmail, Outlook, iCloud are free email services you can use. There are many more.
  • 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?

Duration:   Approximately 30 minutes

Graduate attributes

Knowledge and skills you can gain to contribute to your Graduate attributes:

 Critical judgement

 Independence and creativity

Check your knowledge

Check what you know about this topic:

Take the quiz

Support at UQ

Access UQ services to assist you with personal or study-related issues.