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The damage of the Digital Tattoo


Social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook provide us with a platform to express our unfiltered opinions, post our best ‘selfies’ and catch up with friends and family abroad or down the street. As our fingertips leave the keyboard and press the send button, are we acknowledging that what we write on the internet will be there forever? All posts, images and likes are adding to our digital tattoo.

The digital tattoo is the idea that what we post on the internet marks us eternally, like an ink tattoo. Recruiters and future employers are given the opportunity to have a digital ‘first impression’ of candidates before physically meeting them. Learning how candidates carry themselves online is as effortless as a Google search and can determine whether or not someone makes the interview stage. Are our digital tattoos damaging our job search?

According to Forbes quoting ExecuNet “Up to 70% of employers who have used LinkedIn say they’ve chosen not to hire a person based on what they’ve found out about them online. However, only 27% of employers give job seekers the opportunity to discuss the online content that is associated with their name, such as social media profiles, blog posts and photos.” Recruiters are more likely to go ahead with likeable candidates who have professional social media accounts and come across reliable.

In May 2017 Katie Hopkins was let go from her presenting job at LBC. This comes after Katie tweeted ’22 dead – number rising. Schofield. Don’t you even dare. Do not be part of the problem. We need a final solution.’ The insensitive tweet was said to link to the ‘Final Solution’ plan for the extermination of Jews during World War II. As an employee you have a responsibility to carry yourself in a professional manor in both personal and professional aspects, which is why this social research is crucial to recruiters. Katie has since deleted the tweet however it had already been copied and pasted on to a large number of media sites and will forever remain as one of her digital tattoos.

However there are ways in which the digital tattoo can work positively for young job seekers. Professional accounts and somewhat private accounts show employers that you can be professional at work and are able to separate your private life. Alternatively, as the use of social media increases so do modern job titles such as ‘Blogger’, ‘YouTubeologist’ and ‘Influencer’. In these cases a personal social presence, large following and all of the details you wouldn’t want an employer to see are encouraged.

The digital tattoo is a reminder that what we post on social media can influence our current and future working lives. It can affect our job search positively or negatively. For this reason posts should be well thought out, not too personal and only consist of what we would want an employer to see. You cannot press delete on your digital tattoo.

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