Online Behavior is a Reflection of Offline Character

In a world where the majority of people are connected through a variety of social media networks, it’s likely our first impression of someone will be what we read about them online.


According to a national survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, the majority of businesses will look through social profiles prior hiring—and will likely be more suspicious if they can’t find anything. In fact, more than 57 percent of employers are less likely to interview a candidate they can’t find online.

And we’ve seen that the risks of a careless post or reckless tweet can be costly: some 70 percent of colleges preview a student’s online behavior prior to considering them for acceptance.

Online reputation is everything today. How will you stand-out from your classmate or colleague? What will separate you from another applicant? Does your digital resume reflect who you are offline?

5 Ways to Showcase Yourself Online

1. Claiming Your Social Media Profile

As online reputation management evolves, one of the first steps is owning your digital real estate and creating your brand – professionally.

Take the time to secure your online presence. We know most students own their screen names on traditional platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, but have they grabbed their LinkedIn profile yet?

LinkedIn opened their virtual doors to teens 16 years old and up. This is an amazing opportunity for young people to interact with their potential colleges as well as open doors to internships at companies that a student is interested in.

2. Refine Yourself

We’re all guilty of having that one oops moment of possibly endorsing a questionable image or comment, or maybe posting a less than appropriate picture. Take the time to backstalk yourself on social media. Scroll through your old Facebook or Instagram posts and tweets and freely use your delete button or click un-like on some of your youthful indiscretions. Does your seventh-grade obsessions reflect who you are today? Maybe there are photos that are overly sexual or show yourself drinking or partying that you may want to eliminate.

There’s also no harm in removing friends’ comments that are distasteful.

3. Boost Your Bio

Since most young people will be transitioning from high school to either college or into the world of employment, it’s time to be sure your email address is professional, (say good-bye to ChillinBeanz[at] Create an address with your real name, such as susan.doe[at]

Create a strong bio for yourself that describes your passion for your interests, your goals and any accomplishments you have already.

Select a profile picture that is appropriate. Keep in mind that most profile pictures on sites like Facebook are public. One survey shared that employers are using Facebook profile pictures before deciding to who interview. Although this may not sound fair, it’s being done.

4. Handling Online Hate

Many young people have to deal with cyberbullying and online harassment. Sadly, it’s part of the landscape of social media. It’s important for you to be empathic to those that are being harmed and choose to be the upstander by not forwarding mean memes or comments and reach out to people struggling.

How you handle digital discourse will say a lot about who you are as person. Your online behavior is a reflection of your offline character.

5.  Share Your Story

Build your own website. This is a great way to showcase your interests,  travels, awards, community service involvement, movie and book reviews and even poems or other writings you to have to share. Blogger through Gmail or WordPress offer free simple blog sites to get you started, or you can also start a free website on sites like Wix.

Share these posts on all their social platforms including your LinkedIn page. It’s important to encourage and engage in comments on your blog. Your responses will give readers an insight to your knowledge and wisdom on your interests. It’s an excellent way to impress college recruiters and potential employers.

With the five takeaways to improve your online presence, it’s also important to remember that what you share online is as crucial to how you share it.

3 Ways to rethink how you share on social media:

Conduct: Think twice, post one. Never put a temporary emotion on the permanent Internet.

Content: Is it necessary? Avoid profanity, nudity, any sexual content, drugs or other inappropriate material.

Caring: You may never agree with everyone, but be constructive not combative if you want to disagree. Anger is fleeting, online is forever. Click-out if you’re in doubt.

Whether you’re a student a starting high school, college or entering the workforce, it’s always a good time to start refining their online reputation. For some young people, this might mean redefining themselves online. After-all, who we were at thirteen years-old on Instagram or Twitter isn’t who we are at eighteen.