event reflection. the perks and pitfulls of social media: how your digital footprint could both help and hinder your career.

By Tia Byer

On Wednesday 29th November, York St John University held a social media awareness workshop exploring the dangers and benefits of social media. The workshop was run by Andi Keeling. With over 30 years of operational experience working in the corporate world, Andi’s expertise provided York St John students with vital information concerning how to trace our online footprint.

During this workshop, we discussed the potential perils of using social media in a world where one’s digital footprint is an important part of the screening process for prospective employers. Making mistakes online can potentially loose you your job or prevent you from getting hired in the first palce. Posting disrespectfully or irresponsibly will portray you as someone who is disrespectful or irresponsible real life. At a time where many third year students are writing applications for postgraduate study, internships and job applications, this advise was of the upmost importance.

Andi Keeling
Andi Keeling

However, it is not all bad news. The most astonishing piece of information that Andi passed on was the fact that social media and your online presence can be instrumental in bolstering your personal brand, and thus your desirability as a candidate for employment. Andi herself discussed how her own online footprint aided her in getting into several senior positions in companies. Technology is at the heart of almost every industry, business and institution, which shows that social media awareness is important in getting ahead. Technological advances mean technological understanding is vital in job market. In fact, Andi provided us with research that suggested that several corporate bosses will not even consider someone who does not possess a digital footprint. No online presence implies no digital awareness. Failing to optimize online networking opportunities can be just as detrimental to career prospects as mismanaged social media.

One example of how social media can be extremely beneficial was the impressive story of York St John alumni, Claire Fenby. As a student Claire began a Youtube channel named ‘ReadingBukowski.’

After graduating and completing an MA in English Literary Studies, Claire was able to achieve her dream job. Claire beat many other applicants when she nabbed a position working in a famous publishing house in London. The thing that set her apart from her competitors was her impressive digital footprint.

Social media has the potential to both make you and break you. Be careful what you post online. We are writing in an ink that cannot be erased. It is slightly frightening to think about the damage making one mistake online could cost you. Instead, let’s start building our personal brand. Let us be authentic and respectful way in the way we present our selves online. Let us help ourselves and not hinder our prospects, going forward.