Your Digital Resume Can Make or Break You

This is something that needs to be taught in grade school these days. I have seen many careers created and destroyed because of this issue and many people still go through their lives blissfully ignorant to how this will affect them down the road.

What am I talking about? Your digital resume. “What is a digital resume?” you might ask. Well, think of it as everything you do online that can be viewed by others. This includes MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, forums, websites where you leave comments, etc. ANYthing of yours online that can be seen by others is your digital resume. It is you and how your employers, clients, and customers will perceive you whether it’s the “real” you or not…to them it’s the real you. Period.

I’ve unfortunately worked on projects in the past where people were either fired or not hired based on certain activities they were involved in online. How were they discovered? Simple…just searched for their name on various sites. You might think you can be sneaky and use a nickname, but you’re going to slip up somewhere and that nickname is going to be linked to your real name…then the trail starts. It’s up to you how that trail looks. I can’t stress it enough to be conscious of what you do online. You may not give a hoot what people think about you and you may make a living going through life with that attitude, but just be aware that you’re not “hiding behind a computer screen” lobbing out an “online lifestyle” that is “different” that your real life. To people that come in your life down the road…the two are the same.

On the other hand…use your “digital resume” as a tool to build a foundation for where you want to be down the road. Participate on sites, forums, groups, etc that parallel your plans. Leave a trail that shows how you got to where you are today. The people you communicate with and that see your activity may end up being the people who pay for that roof over your head and the food on your table. Don’t lose site of that.

Remember this…perception is reality…especially in the online world. What you do will be seen by someone important to you down the road. It’s up to you as to how they will react.

5 Responses to “Your Digital Resume Can Make or Break You”

  • I completely agree with you Shane. I think this is great information for anyone. 🙂

  • “Don’t lose site of that.

    Remember this…perception is reality…especially in the online world.”

    I agree entirely and the message is especially useful for a student audience that has not begun to think that far down the road. I bet there are a lot of techies out there who have lived to regret the flame wars they started or prolonged.

    Also in a world of one-finger texting, the importance of spelling and grammar for business stuff should not be underestimated. I don’t think it is just the British culture or my age group that massively downgrades the credibility of a writer when they spot such errors, even though logically it does not invalidate the points they are making. But as you say, if that’s all you have to go on, then perception is reality.

    Don’t lose sight of that. 🙂

  • Yes I’ve heard stories of people being checked out online to see their activities. Then it’s discovered that the person’s political view differ greatly from the perspective employer, and poof, no job. It’s really a whole new method of discrimination. I think it would be very easy to abuse that power.

  • Shane, I believe you are referring to the digital foot print left behind every second we are online. However, most people I know use pseudonyms and multiple emails when browsing online or posting to forums etc. Regardless this is a great post all the same. Thanks

  • Thanks Shane. You are totally right on this. It’s quite easy to locate someone and follow their trail online if you have their name, email or any username they have ever used. So people should be cautious about what they share online. I have never heard of anyone refer to that as as “digital resume” but it is and your advice is great.

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