89% of adults aged 16-24 are able to access the internet on their mobile or smartphone (Office for National Statistics, 2013 report).

Reppler has some good advice for anyone looking to ‘manage [their] online image’. Take a look at their post on jobseeker pitfalls to avoid when it comes to using social media.

For advice on how to protect yourself online, visit the Get Safe Online website. 

Your digital identity

We are spending more time online than ever before. eMarketer predicts that the time we spend using digital media will soon overtake the time we spend watching TV. Not surprisingly, the use of mobiles and tablets is set to make up almost half of digital media time in general. 

This ability to interact with the digital world so easily and so frequently makes it important to evaluate exactly what we are using the internet for and what digital footprints we might be leaving behind. Social networking accounts for a large amount of online activity and there has been a significant increase in the amount of internet users who blog, share photos and upload videos (Ofcom). All of this online activity creates digital traces that can be found by almost anyone and so it pays to be aware of how you might be presenting yourself online.

This activity from the Open University touches on how to make a good impression online.

Wired magazine has some tips about how to control what information can be found out about you online in it’s article, Un-google Yourself.

The University of Reading has a very interesting collection of stories based around digital identity, collected as part of the This is Me project.

What employers see

Reppler undertook a survey that investigated how employers use social networks to screen job applicants. The results, although not altogether surprising, confirm the importance of maintaining a professional online presence. It seems that employers both hire and reject applicants based on what they find online.

Recruiters may Google a candidate to verify skills sets, to check for inappropriate photos or comments or just to try and get more of an overall picture of a person. Whatever the reason, employers are likely to look you up so it pays to be mindful of the sorts of things that you share online.

The Software Advice blog post, ‘Your Internet Persona: What Do Recruiters Really Want to Know About You?’ is an interesting read and contains useful information about how your internet persona influences your employability.

The good news is that sites such as LinkedIn help you to mould your online identity. It will usually be the first thing that comes up in a Google search and so you can make sure that this is where you present yourself in a way that is attractive to employers. As a student, you might ask yourself how LinkedIn can work for you whilst you are studying. LinkedIn itself provides some guidance on what it can do for students. The web support team also offers advice on how to get the most out of LinkedIn.

Stay safe online

It is a positive thing to maintain an online presence and to interact with people online. However you can do this without revealing too many personal details about yourself such as your address or date of birth. Information like this is very valuable to someone looking to commit identity fraud.

The BBC has put together a short list of the main ways in which you can keep your data safe. Cardiff University has also excellent resources on safety and security.

One of the main ways in which you can protect yourself is through using strong passwords and using different passwords for different sites. Lifehacker has some great tips on how to ‘Choose (and remember) great passwords’.