Social media can make or break your career. We\u2019ve all heard at least one story of an employee getting fired over a Tweet or Facebook post. And when you apply to a job, most hiring managers will first turn to Google to vet your background and qualifications.\nWhichever way you swing it, you can\u2019t avoid social media anymore, and how you manage -- or don\u2019t manage -- your social presence can make or break your job hunt. It\u2019s time to take control of your image and start thinking of social media as personal branding.\nWhy does it matter?\nManaging a Twitter feed and updating your LinkedIn profile might not seem important, but these outlets have become strong elements in recruitment. If you have a lax attitude to your social media accounts, it can hurt you just as much as having no social presence at all.\nAccording to a 2015 survey from CareerBuilder of more than 2,000 employers, \u201c35-percent of employers say they are less likely to interview job candidates if they are unable to find information about that person online.\u201d\nYou might think keeping your personal profiles set to private is the right thing to do, but many employers are starting to view a lack of public social presence as a red flag.\n[Related: Guide to social media rules of engagement]\nTake control of your brand\nIt\u2019s important to be aware of your social presence and to take control of what you put out there. Recruiters aren\u2019t really searching for salacious details about your life; most are looking to confirm that your skills and qualifications make you the best person for the job.\nJohn Jersin, former Google executive and current CEO of Connectifier, says \u201cyou should have updated and accurate information everywhere someone might look. It helps you look consistent and organized, but it also gives you an opportunity to briefly emphasize important parts of your resume.\u201d\nAnd don\u2019t forget, just because hiring managers and recruiters might be checking your social profiles, that doesn\u2019t mean you can\u2019t take a look at theirs. Learning more about the company you are working for as well as the hiring manager or recruiter can better prepare you for the interview.\nIndustry matters\nIn CareerBuilder\u2019s survey, 76 percent of information technology recruiters and 64 percent of financial services recruiters turned to social media to find and vet potential candidates. Other industries that rely heavily on social media include sales, professional and business services, manufacturing, healthcare and retail. If you work in any of these industries, it\u2019s definitely time to take your social media seriously.\nGet Recruited\nIf you aren\u2019t actively searching for a new job, but are open to interesting positions, maintaining a strong social presence can help recruiters find you. Controlling your personal brand can help ensure that potential job offers come straight to your inbox, rather than finding job listings and applying directly.\nYou should take note of not only LinkedIn as a strong recruitment platform, but Twitter as well. More recruiters are turning to Twitter to find potential candidates, and it is quickly becoming a resource for job seekers and recruiters.\nIn a recent study, Twitter was cited as having more job listings than any other platform, and 174 of the companies on the Fortune 500 have a dedicated Twitter account for recruitment. Your Twitter profile might not only help you find an opening with a company, but it might help the company find you.\n[Related: 13 top recruiting software platforms]\nA little mystery is good\nDon\u2019t run off and unlock all of your social media profiles right away. Some things are better left private, such as your Facebook profile or a personal Twitter account.\nDawn Edmiston, clinical associate professor of marketing at the College of William and Mary, says \u201cI would definitely wonder about the background of a tech professional who had zero presence on social media, rather than the individual who has a well-managed LinkedIn and Twitter presence, but prefers that their personal social media such as Facebook remains private.\u201d\nThe keyword here is \u201cwell-managed,\u201d try to draw a line between your professional image and your personal image. Keeping your Facebook account private is probably a smart idea, but you might consider having two separate Twitter accounts \u2013 one professional and one personal.\nWhat are they looking for?\nThe CareerBuilder study also revealed the top five things recruiters are looking for in your social profile, which includes inappropriate photos, alcohol or drug use, negative posts about past employers or coworkers, a lack of communication skills as well as \u00a0any discriminatory or inflammatory content regarding race, gender, religion, and other issues.\n\u201cForty-eight percent of hiring managers who screen candidates via social networks said they\u2019ve found information that caused them not to hire a candidate -- down slightly from 51 percent last year,\u201d according to CareerBuilder.\nHowever, the survey also revealed what type of social content made recruiters move forward with a candidate. This included any background information that supported the candidate\u2019s qualifications, signs that the candidate\u2019s personality would be a good fit for the company, a professional image, strong communication skills, and creativity.\nProving to recruiters that you can maintain professionalism on social media is a good sign that you will carry that over into your working life.\n[Related: 5 Ways to Use Social Media to Boost Your Career Prospects]\nTime to get on board\nIf you\u2019re waiting to see if social media is a passing phase, you\u2019re going to be left behind. Recruiters using social media to find candidates has gone up 43 percent since last year and 39-percent since 2013, according to CareerBuilder.\n\u201cResearching candidates via social media and other online sources has transformed from an emerging trend to a staple of online recruitment,\u201d said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder.\nIt\u2019s time to get smart about your social presence and view it as a personal brand, rather than a personal outlet.