Presenting Your Best Self on Social Media

Social media is pervasive in our lives. According to an April 2021 Pew Research Center survey, 84% percent of Americans between 18 and 29 use at least one social media platform. And, while you might be using your account mainly to share memes and memories, it can also have a big impact on your career.

About 70% of employers included in a survey by CareerBuilder said that they look up candidates’ social media before making hiring decisions, an increase of 10% from a similar survey the year before. “They do it in part to make sure there are no red flags,” says E. Michele Ramsey, an associate professor in communication and women’s studies at Penn State Berks.

More than half of employers reported that they have chosen not to hire an applicant based on what they found on their social accounts, including inappropriate photos, drinking and drug use, and discriminatory comments. But hiring managers also are looking for positives—how you might align with the team and contribute to the company.

You might not love the idea of a Human Resources officer scrolling through your Instagram account, but with an increasing number of employers checking, your online reputation can both help and hurt your chances of landing your dream career. Here are tips from experts on how to showcase your best self online.

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