Beware – Your Digital Footprint is Your Resume

by Jeff Quipp December 10th, 2007 

So much fuss lately about our carbon footprints, but what about the digital footprints we leave. Think about this for a second ... a great deal of what we do now appears online? I started thinking deeper about the implications of digital footprints earlier when I posted a piece from DailyBlogTips ... titled "Put Honesty and Integrity Above Everything Else to Sphinn.

Footprints on the Beach

Consider for a second ... I, or anyone for that matter, can tell a great deal about you from your digital footprints. If not careful, it might be possible to tell:
- where you've been
- where you are
- who you know
- where you work
- what your hobbies are
- what you think about certain issues
- and much more. In many cases, I can even tell what you look like. And the amount of information available about you is only going to grow.

Some of these footprints you choose to leave via blogs, forums, and so forth. Others however, you leave unintentionally (which I'll call toe-prints ... from walking on your tippy-toes). This is kinda scary ... much of it will remain online indefinitely.

To me, the scariest kind of footprints are the toe-prints. With the proliferation of mobile devices, and other information capturing equipment, we'll most certainly be faced with challenges we could not have comprehended only a few mere years ago. Our kids will have it even worse.

All this information, the footprints you choose to leave, and the toe-prints left unintentionally, conspire to tell a great deal about you as an individual.

But the ramifications are in fact even much deeper. HR departments, including our own, are using search engines and social media to research potential candidates. We're looking to:
a) validate what your actual resume said
b) learn more about you ... in a non office environment
In effect, every job seeker of the future will be not unlike a political candidate. Hopefully their closets are squeaky clean, and if not, devise strategies to address it. At the same time, lack of footprint online is not good either ... especially in the internet space.

So in conclusion, just be very careful to leave a clean footprint. Dust away to toe-prints where possible. And make sure the footprint matches your size.

I think I'm gonna get into the name change business. I'm pretty sure there will be a big boon in business for quite a number of years to come!

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14 Responses to “Beware – Your Digital Footprint is Your Resume”

  1. Maybe it's time to invest in the no-follow radio frequency rubber sole insert, to stave off-line stalking from big brother.

    Eventually they may in fact be able to determine which websites we have browsed, based on the radio frequency emitting from our brain-wave patterns as a result of prolonged exposure.

    But just in case you can't wait. HistoryKill has a pretty good thing going. Thanks again Jeff, for a great article.

  2. Social Network Profiles is something touched upon last week by a guest on my 'blog.

    Because the web is for the most part a very transparent environment, every indiscretion and momentary lapse is there for all to see — parents, partners and potential employers alike.

    Whether we want it or not, we're very much managing (good or bad) our personal brand every time we engage with some one or some service on the web…

  3. mike b says:

    Great points Jeff….I look for 'footprints' every month or so, to see what is indexed in the wonderful 'wide world web', as we know it!

    Luckily it is all good!! (i think)

  4. This is a great blog entry. I too agree as things like social media continue to grow, this becomes even more important to be aware. What we do, post or upload at 21, may not be what we want to be known for at 31, 4 or beyond.

  5. Jeff Quipp says:

    @ Jeff – funny thing … I attended a hci (human computer interaction) conference in 2000 in L.A., and met a guy who was a phD student in brain wave interpretation. Literally … he stunned me with what he could already tell.

    @ Wayne – that's a very succinct way of saying it Wayne … thanks! We are a brand!

    @ Mike B – hey, so do I. I look for footprints using google alerts daily, and on all employees of SEP too. Its becoming increasingly important!

    @ Tom – I couldn't agree more. If colleages now had a glimpse of who I was at 19, I'd be completely embarrased. I've grown, and want to be known for who I am today, not what I did when I was 19. While it was the mistakes I made at 19 that made me who I am today, I'm the only one who 'gets that'!. Maybe there should be voiceover commentary to accompany any questionable entries????

  6. […] I came across a great blog entry that questions what type of digital footprint we all leave titled, Beware – Your Digital Footprint is Your Resume by Jeff Quipp.  We have all heard about carbon footprints and the impact we all have on our […]

  7. […] I recently read one of your posts regarding people leaving their digital footprints within the Internet. Is this something that you feel people should be more aware of and to what […]

  8. Many only realize about their permanent digital footprints after years of surfing which is kinda too late. Internt privacy is now a problem. Imagine every text you typed are recorded for research purpose( if you know what i am talking about ).

  9. Great article. I never thought about it in this way but just to cover the tracks people do use pseudonyms and multiple emails online. Are you suggesting that we all do something of that sort?

  10. […] consultants such as that friend's daughter – as long as they are professional (read: don't put up drunken pics on Facebook for HR to get mad about), things could go […]

  11. […] I do online is "out there" for the world to see, whether it be positive or negative. So beware! I guess this is why I deleted my Facebook account permanently. Why would I want pictures, status […]

  12. Bill Burkhead says:

    Excellent post that makes you think. We need to teach this to our kids (facebook, twitter, etc). Love the concept of toe prints and footprints. Whatever prints you leave, live by the simple rule: don't type anything online that you wouldn't want your mother, or grandmother to read!

  13. Okay, so next job interview, when they ask for a resume, I reply "You didn't already get my digital footprint?" Great savings in postage, thanks for the help. :)


  14. […] I recently read one of your posts regarding people leaving their digital footprints within the Internet. Is this something that you feel people should be more aware of and to what […]