What goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas, but what happens on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., stays on the Internet forever. Remember that what we join, what news articles come out mentioning us, and where we work is now part of the informational transparency that the web now provides.

What do you want it to say about your work history?

How Social Media Has Become a Digital Diary of Our Work History

By Dawn Rasmussen, CMP – Pathfinder Writing and Career Services

By now, everyone knows the famous saying that what goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas … but the new twist is that what happens on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. etc. stays on the Internet forever.

Some of us grew up before the web was born, so some of our youthful indiscretions remain cloaked in time and anonymity, but for the new digital generation, the Internet is less forgiving.

With every click, post, like, and mention, we are now creating a comprehensive aggregate of who we are, what we are like, what we do, and how we behave.

And employers are noticing this.

In fact, when provided a behind-the-curtain view of employer-based dashboards of job boards, a startling amount of personal information pops up.

Dice.com provided an example of this:

As you can see, while this sample candidate is in a tech field, a lot of personal information is included in this snapshot, including the person’s interests, recent tweets, blog posts, and salary information.

And understand that big companies like Facebook are building an even more massive database that will have huge value to potential employers.

Big data is king. And that king is following your digital footprint around for your every move.

So what is someone supposed to do? Isn’t it ok to express who you are without worrying about damaging future career prospects?

The answer is yes AND no.

The one rule of thumb that I advise all clients to use is to ask themselves before they post: Is this something that I wouldn’t want an employer to see?

This is an exercise in discretion and curation.

You can still be yourself, but remember, with tracking cookies, analytics tools, and data miners on virtually every page you visit, you are leaving a digital trail that can and is followed.

Your best bet is to focus attention on building up positive, industry-facing content that generates the largest number of “hits” in a Google search.

Sure, sometimes a silly post slips out, or you express feelings about a certain event, but you do want to maintain a consistent stream of content that still serves to reflect the type of person that you are. 

Mentions in articles or posts that you publish, along with updates and tweets will build up a comprehensive picture.

You can also establish rigid privacy settings too, but do be aware that there are a lot of programs / platforms available that can circumvent that info as well.

Your best bet is to stay the course, demonstrate a solid voice projecting your authentic self, but be aware that others can and are watching.