Internships and other work experiences
Internships and other work experiences

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Internships and other work experiences

3.2 Tidying my digital footprint

The other aspect of social media that you need to be aware of is whether there are any posts/images from the past that could be detrimental to your work experience plans. Use your preferred search engine to look for your name and see what comes up. Grothaus (2018) offers the following tips for tidying up your digital footprint.

Box 1 Tips for tidying your digital footprint

  • Make your social media accounts private.
  • Review your timelines and remove any photos or comments that could cast you in a negative light.
  • Tags with your name can come up in online searches. Either untag yourself, ask friends to untag you or investigate how the platform allows you to disable other people from tagging you in the first place.
  • Find and close any old social media accounts. If you’ve forgotten what they are, try a service like which aims to help you find all your forgotten online accounts.
Grothaus (2018)

If you want to find out more about this topic, the OpenLearn course Digital literacy: succeeding in a digital world has some useful content, including the following video about how to improve your digital footprint.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 2
Skip transcript: Video 2

Transcript: Video 2

Once you understand how important your digital footprint is, you can start to think about how you might improve the way in which you come across online. So let's see how you can do this. One of the first things you can do is to delete or deactivate all those online accounts that you don't use anymore. Doing this will mean that you won't need to worry about them, they can't be scammed, and it will leave you time to concentrate on the accounts that are most useful to you. There are tools available online that can help you do this.
For the accounts you choose to keep, think about who has access to them and filter out people you don't really know or no longer keep in contact with. For example, Facebook tends to be more personal, so you may only want family and friends to have access to the information you put there. However, if you use LinkedIn, you will want to connect with a professional network and be considered for jobs. If you want to be noticed, your settings should allow greater public access.
However, the information you provide is likely to be professional rather than personal. Now is the time to delete all those photographs that don't show you in a good light. Also, delete any posts that you're not proud of. Social network sites will provide you with information on how to do this. Sites like LinkedIn are great for showcasing your skills and knowledge.
If you want to get noticed, you'll need to ensure that you build up your profile to include your achievements, skills, qualifications, and knowledge. Consider your profile as your online CV. Employers or employment agencies frequently search LinkedIn for people with specific skills. When you think about the words you use on your profile, think about the words for which employers might search in order to find people with your skills.
There are a number of ways you can connect with others in your profession or field of interest. Twitter is a good place to find connections. Being active on Twitter will make it more likely that people will notice you. Stick to professional content and think about what your tweets are saying about you in a professional sense.
Blogs are also a great way of showcasing your knowledge. Think about starting your own professional blog, or find expert blogs that will keep you up to date. Adding your own comments will enable you to be part of the wider discussion. Discussion forums are also good places to meet professionals in your field. They are great places to learn from others and share good practice.
End transcript: Video 2
Video 2
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

As you’ve seen, if used correctly, a social media presence can be beneficial to finding work experience. But once you’ve found the work experience you’d like to do, you’ll usually need to make an application of some kind. You’ll look at how to make yourself stand out in your application next.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371