How Do Blogs and Wikis Add Value to Career Services?

by Michael Yue
In this article, I make the assumption that readers are working in an organizational context. But my points are also relevant to independent practitioners.

 
Blogs

Blogs are effective means for practitioners to communicate with peers and clients. What distinguishes a blog from a conventional website is that it is designed to be updated regularly by one or more persons, and to invite feedback from readers. The “dynamic” nature of blogs means that they are suitable for practitioners and their organizations to engage clients as well as colleagues and other stakeholders – giving readers reason to return for new content.

Having an organizational blog allows the community to see that your organization is moving forward and getting results. It allows staff to demonstrate their expertise and showcase their accomplishments. An organization can designate a staff member or a team to be responsible for the blog, based on individual expertise and writing skills. Blog postings are presented in reverse chronological order (most recent postings shown on top of older postings).

Example of a career blog: Compass

Popular (and free!) blog tools:

 

Wikis

Unlike a blog, which is generally viewed publicly (unless it is an internal organizational blog), a wiki is mostly kept private for a selected group of users. (There are public wikis, the most notable example isWikipedia.)

As a collaborative tool, the wiki offers a platform on which its users share, discuss and edit uploaded content. Wikis are most useful when users cannot meet face-to-face all the time, but need to be “in sync” in their work.

Practitioners who facilitate groups (such as workshops, peer support groups, etc.) can use wikis as an instructional tool to develop and share learning materials. Clients can contribute to the wiki by sharing and commenting on each other’s job search experiences and tools.

Example of a public wiki: Library Success – A Best Practices Wiki

Popular (and free!) wiki tools:

 

Scenario

Below is a scenario of how a practitioner and her organization use a blog and a wiki:

Margaret is a career counsellor at an employment resource centre.

For 30 minutes every Tuesday and Thursday, she writes a short article (250-300 words) on the ERC blog about job search techniques, employment opportunities, other community resources, and even client success stories. The intended audience is clients and colleagues.

For 30 minutes every Monday and Wednesday, she researches content that can go onto the blog. Her two other colleagues – a resource centre advisor and a job search workshop facilitator – have similar responsibilities. They have agreed to contribute different but complimentary content.

Margaret often finds information and resources that she does not immediately use for the blog. The ERC has an internal wiki for Margaret and her two colleagues to share their research findings. Over time, they accumulate content that is useful for other colleagues who have access to the wiki but may not contribute as regularly.

The wiki is also used by the centre staff to collaborate on projects, comment on each other’s blog postings, brainstorm new ideas for the centre, etc.

Margaret’s organization endorses the use of the blog and wiki to enhance the productivity of the centre staff. The designated staff are given time to learn the tools, but everyone is welcome to contribute. Through such “social” tools, the collective knowledge base of the ERC staff grows tremendously.

Michael Yue is a project coordinator at the Vancouver Community College. He has a background in education and career development. He has been promoting the use of Web 2.0 tools among his colleagues and peers through workshops, conference presentations, and collaborative projects. You can reach Michael at myue@vcc.ca

For more career development blogs, be sure to visit ContactPoint’s Blogger Centraland our blog roll of Canadian Career Development Blogs.

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