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Social Media Wiki

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This section is intended to provide an overview of social media as it pertains to career development. If you would like to modify these wikis or to submit a new subsection, get in touch with to be added as an author.


Social media can be a powerful tool for career development when used strategically. Having a strong competency in how best to use social media can be an excellent way to stay professionally current, support client’s career success and build/maintain a professional reputation.

How Career Development Professionals Can Utilize Social Media in their Practice

Professional branding

Whether you work for an organization or have a private practice, professional branding is very important. Being proactive in establishing your online presence can offer networking opportunities and access to relevant career/industry resources.

Keep in mind the information shared is meant to be a springboard to your social media experience. Social media is constantly evolving, adding new features and changing the way profiles appears. Therefore, it is important to keep up-to-date with each platform you engage with, not only for your benefit but also for your clients’.

You can use any of the social media tools to build your professional brand. One of the newer social media apps, Periscope, can be helpful with real-time interaction with clients, building your know-like-trust factor, sharing your expertise, sharing your work and marketing your events. [1]

Private practice

Personal branding is important in the digital age, especially for independent practitioners. It is important to establish yourself as a relevant, engaged and informed professional, as your clients and prospective clients will likely look you up online prior to meeting with you. Practitioners can connect with their target clientele and engage with them using the mediums they typically use. For example, adults may engage with social platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook but youth may be more engaged with Instagram and Snapchat, as well as Facebook. You want to be where they “live” and want to speak to them with content that is relevant to them.

If you’re new to social media and feeling overwhelmed about how to get started, there are some helpful resources to give you some ideas listed below. The best way to start building your social presence is to read up on best practices and explore different social media platforms to see what suits you best.

How Your Clients Can Use Social Media in their “Career Toolbox”

It is imperative you stress the importance of a professional online presence to your clients. Having incriminating content online can hurt employability and it is important to be in control of what exists online surrounding their professional brand. Explain to job seekers the value of setting up accounts on LinkedIn and how to use other platforms to their advantage for information gathering or building an online resume.

How to use social media

Explain the different uses of each medium for clients. Social media can be used for job hunting, research, personal brand building or networking.

Researching companies

Online resources are an excellent way to research the reputation of an organization your client is interested in. Their social properties, website, how they engage on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can give a sense of their values and personality.

A popular way professionals have used LinkedIn for example is to research a company they are interested in and consider proactively reaching out to employees of that organization to set up an information interview. Other opportunities to research a company using social media could include viewing content posted to get a better understanding of how that company addresses various issues. You can also follow a company’s social properties to stay on top of updates about the company or job information. If employees are searchable, you can connect directly and start a conversation.

Job hunting

Social media can help clients connect with organizations and/or individuals they would like to work for; in addition, they provide access the hidden job market. [2] Many job opportunities are not advertised; therefore, having an active social media presence can bring prospective job seekers into contact with organizations and individuals within their network who may have existing job opportunities or who may create an opportunity because they see the job seeker as an asset to the organization.

Personal branding

By engaging with other social media users, a job seeker can showcase their skills (hard and soft skills), demonstrate their interest and create a footprint on the web by joining discussions and sharing information. Job seekers can control the information that potential employers access about them by posting content and interacting with online platforms frequented by a potential employer. Personal branding creates a long “tail’ of information [3] that potential employers can use to asses a candidate’s suitability for a position, narrowing down the number of applicants for a job.


Social media facilitates the creation of weak ties [4] which allow users to gain access to groups and individuals they may not have access to in the regular course of a day. Weak ties provide opportunities for a larger network which is not limited by geography, time zones or field of work/study and greatly expands a potential job seeker’s reach.

Important considerations

It’s one thing to set up an account on LinkedIn or Facebook, but it’s another to ensure the content is professional, relevant and consistent. For example, resume updates should be updated on LinkedIn, information/photos shared should be appropriate and should be considered with a filter of “could this have an impact on my reputation for prospective employers?” It is important for existing social media users to be reminded to spend some time ensuring all imagery, content on social platforms is appropriate and paints a positive, professional, and consistent image of the candidate. Using your chosen social media platform to share links, events, images or other content with your network can be a good way to show your interest in a topic, but ensure it comes from a relevant source.

Spelling and grammar can be an important consideration for recruiters, so ensure content produced is free of errors.[5] [6]

Some Examples of Do’s and Don’ts in Social Media:

Social Media Platforms

Social Media can be broken into different platforms and it is important to note the distinct offerings and opportunities of each.


This is a business-oriented professional networking site, launched in 2003. As of October 2015, LinkedIn reports more than 400 million acquired users in more than 200 countries and territories. It has become a very important tool to job search and employer research. The basic functionality of LinkedIn allows users (job seekers and employers) to create profiles and “connections” to each other in an online social network which may represent real-world professional relationships. Users can invite anyone to become a connection.

LinkedIn can be useful for both job seekers and career professionals, with over 400 million users using the service, it’s a great place to reach out to clients.[9]

LinkedIn allows a user to:

  • Create a professionally oriented presence online
  • Discover connections to organizations and opportunities via people they already know
  • Learn about trending news in an industry or field and share it with others
  • Find job, internship and volunteer opportunities
  • Directly contact the individual who posted a job, internship or volunteer opportunity

Join Groups

Professional or interest collections of individuals who can connect and share information about the related groups.

Job Listings and Company / Individual Research

LinkedIn allows users to research companies with which they may be interested in working. When typing the name of a given company in the search box, statistics about the company are provided. These may include the ratio of female to male employees, the percentage of the most common titles/positions held within the company, the location of the company’s headquarters and offices, or a list of present and former employees.

Users can “Apply with LinkedIn” via the button on job listing pages. This plugin will allow potential employees to apply for positions using their LinkedIn profiles as resumes.


A recommendation is a comment written by a LinkedIn member to recognize or commend a colleague, business partner, or student. Viewers of your profile often view the recommendations you’ve received on your profile to see what others have to say about your work.

The best recommendations come from people who value your work, services or products, such as managers, colleagues, co-workers, customers, and clients. Hiring managers and people searching for new customers and business partners prefer to work with people who come recommended by someone they know and trust. There’s no limit to the number of recommendations you can request or give.

Skills and Endorsements

Allows users to endorse each other’s skills. This feature also allows users to efficiently provide commentary on other users’ profiles – network building is reinforced. However, there is no way of flagging anything other than positively shared skills.

Online Recruiting

Recruiters and HR professionals are increasingly using LinkedIn as a source for finding potential candidates. By using the advanced search tools, recruiters can find members matching their specific key words with a click of a button. They then can reach out to those members by sending a request to connect or by sending InMail about a specific job opportunity. Recruiters also often join industry based groups on LinkedIn to create connections with professionals in that line of business.


This feature brings together 300+ of the world’s top thought leaders to share their professional insights with LinkedIn’s 259 million members. Influencer is an invite-only program that features notable leaders from a vast range of industries including Richard Branson, Narendra Modi, Arianna Huffington, Greg McKeown, Rahm Emanuel, Jamie Dimon, Martha Stewart, Deepak Chopra, Jack Welch, and Bill Gates. This is an excellent way to gain insight into various fields and expand your knowledge in career development.

For more detailed information on how to utilize LinkedIn, the US National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has put together a good summary “The Career Counselor’s Guide to LinkedIn“.[10]


Is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called “tweets”.  As of May 2015, Twitter had more than 500 million users, out of which more than 332 million were active.

Twitter accounts can also be a powerful online presence for users, as tweets and pages are indexed by Google. Therefore, Twitter can provide unique opportunities for job seekers to:

      • Set them apart in an applicant pool
      • Keep current with industry news, which is great for interview preparation and networking
      • Find job and internship opportunities they may not otherwise be aware of
      • Establish themselves as burgeoning experts in specific fields or industries
      • Discover fields or industries of interest


Users may subscribe to other users’ tweets—this is known as “following” and subscribers are known as “followers”. Tweets can be shared by users in their own feed, a process known as a “retweet”. Users can also “like” (formerly “favourite”) tweets.


Users can group posts together by topic or type by use of hashtags – words or phrases prefixed with a “#” sign. Similarly, the “@” sign followed by a username is used for mentioning or replying to other users. To repost a message from another Twitter user and share it with one’s own followers, a user can click the retweet button within the Tweet.

Trending Topics

A word, phrase or topic that is mentioned at a greater rate than others is said to be a “trending topic.” Trending topics become popular either through a concerted effort by users, or because of an event that prompts people to talk about a specific topic. These topics help Twitter and their users to understand what is happening in the world and what people’s opinions are about it.

For more detailed information on how to utilize Twitter, the US National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has put together a good summary “The Career Counselor’s Guide to Twitter”.[11] [12]


This is the largest online social networking website in the world, with 1.18 billion monthly active users as of August 2015. After registering to use the site, users can create a user profile, add other users as friends, exchange messages, post status updates and photos, share videos, use various apps and receive notifications when others update their profiles. Additionally, users may join common interest groups, organized by workplace, school or college, or other characteristics, and categorize their friends into lists such as “people from work” or “close friends”.

Facebook can be used to:

  • Establish a professional presence online using Facebook’s profile options.
  • Create friend lists to effectively manage connections on Facebook.
  • Connect with organizations, industries, and groups relevant to their career interests.
  • Find job and internship listings using Facebook pages and apps.

For more detailed information on how to utilize Facebook, the US National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has put together a good summary “The Career Counselor’s Guide to Facebook”.[13]


blog (a truncation of the expression weblog) is a discussion or informational site published on the web consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first).  Blogs have risen in popularity over the past few years. For example, as of February 20, 2014, there were around 172 million Tumblr blogs, rising to 282.1 million blogs worldwide by March 1, 2016. There are many different types of blogs, differing not only in the type of content, but also in the way that content is delivered or written.

Blogs can be useful for both job seekers, organizations/agencies and career practitioners to reach out to a wide audience. They are particularly useful for:

  • Create a strong profile and personal/organizational brand
  • Network and connect professionally by creating your own blog, guest blogging or connecting and networking through professional blogs

Finding job and internship listings on job or employer blogs

For more detailed information on how to utilize blogging, the US National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has put together a good summary “The Career Counselor’s Guide to Blogging”.[14]


The site allows users to upload, view, rate, share and comment on videos. It makes use of various types of technology to display a wide variety of user-generated and corporate media video. Available content includes video clips, TV clips, music videos, movie trailers and other content such as video blogging or “vlogging”, short original videos and educational videos. Excellent career development content exists to support both the professional (tools, resources) and the client (interview tips, job search strategies).[15]


A web and mobile application company that operates a photo sharing website. Users can upload, save, sort, and manage images — known as pins — and other media content (e.g. videos) through collections known as pinboards. Visual and written content can be used for career development resources, and shared with other Pinterest members or saved to a public or private board.[16]

For more detailed information on how to utilize Pinterest, the US National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has put together a good summary “The Career Counselor’s Guide to Pinterest.”


An application that provides video chat and voice call services. Users may exchange such digital documents as images, text, video and any others and may transmit both text and video messages. Skype allows users to communicate over the Internet by voice using a microphone, by video using a webcam, as well as with instant messaging. Skype-to-Skype calls to other users are free of charge, while calls to landline telephones and mobile phones (over traditional telephone networks) are charged via a debit-based user account system called Skype Credit.  Skype can be used as a format of communication for career development sessions if location is a barrier for the client.[17]


An online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos and share them either publicly or privately on the app, as well as through a variety of other social networking platforms such as FacebookTwitterTumblr and Flickr. Some professionals have used Instagram to share relevant career information with their followers, in order to build a reputation as a thought-leader and stay top of mind with their clients using the app.[18]


Using the application, users can take photos, record videos, add a filter, “Lens”, text, or sketch overlay, and send them to a controlled list of recipients. These sent photographs and videos are known as “Snaps,” sent in real-time. Users set a time limit for how long recipients can view their Snaps (as of September 2015, the range is from 1 to 10 seconds), after which Snapchat claims they will be deleted from the company’s servers. Those working with teens and young adults will find this an important app to connect with clients in the medium they use most often, as it makes them feel closer, more welcomed. We know more and more mass emails are being deleted, and need something to break through to them.[19] [20]


This is a live streaming app available for iOS and Android and has some Twitter cross-functionality, allowing users to tweet out their live stream. Users can live stream themselves and/or watch other users’ live streams globally. The videos stay online, providing users access for a limited amount of time and are then deleted. This app can be useful for holding formal workshops, informal discussions, networking and building your brand.


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