Could non-career-focused online credentials make you more employable?

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Online courses issuing certificates have gotten substantially more popular over recent years. However, the market value of online credentials remains ambiguous, especially regarding non-career-focused credentials such as wine tasting, personal branding, or relationship building. This study explores how non-career-focused credentials added to Social Networking (SNW) profiles impact recruiters’ perceptions of job candidates. We designed a factorial survey experiment where we randomly generated fictitious SNW profiles with varying components. We recruited people with prior working experience to share their opinion based on applicants’ profiles for Data Scientist, Software Engineer, and Financial Analyst roles. Results indicate that personal-development credentials affect recruiters’ preferences even when they are entirely unrelated to the hard skills needed for the job.


Type of resource text
Publication date June 9, 2023


Author Pittarokoili, Elena


Subject online credentials
Subject MOOCs
Subject employability
Genre Text
Genre Capstone
Genre Student project report

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User agrees that, where applicable, content will not be used to identify or to otherwise infringe the privacy or confidentiality rights of individuals. Content distributed via the Stanford Digital Repository may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC).

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Preferred citation
Pittarokoili, E. (2023). Could non-career-focused online credentials make you more employable?. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at


Education Data Science (EDS) Capstone Projects, Graduate School of Education

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