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Social Media and Employability: Creating a Digital Career Portfolio

Most young people are regular users of social media -Instagram, YouTube, Facebook. They use a range of digital platforms to stay connected with friends/peers and to share the things that interest them. But how many consider the role of social media when it comes to looking for a work experience placement, job, apprenticeship or university place?

This article will provide some ideas about how your students might go about developing their online presence and shaping their digital footprint to support career building?  It will also look at how, as a career professional, you can support them.

Social media is central to students’ employability. The internet offers your students a space within which they can manage/ build their reputations and ‘sell themselves’ to employers . It is where conversations can be undertaken, contacts identified and networks maintained.  Platforms such as Instagram or YouTube can provide a real opportunity for young people to shine.

Just 10 years ago bloggers and vloggers were virtually unheard of but now young people can make a career of this as well as using it to promote their skills and ideas. When used well social media can help students to find out about and transition into their future. However, it is important to remember that if social media is used badly, it can seriously disadvantage a students’ career development - employers frequently check out prospective employees’ digital footprints, so maintaining an ‘uncontroversial’ social media presence is a must when job hunting.

Are  you currently addressing these issues with your students?

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Developing Digital Career Literacy

Digital career literacy is concerned with your student’s ability to use the online environment to search, to make contacts, to get questions answered and to build a positive professional reputation.  The internet offers new opportunities to give and receive career support. There are however limitations to what access to information can achieve without informed students. An increasing number of schools are creating or purchasing a digital careers resource library… but do their students have the appropriate skills to use this to find, source and manage information?  If they are going to be using your library as a marketplace, do their students have the ability to collect and critique information? 

What skills and knowledge will your students need in order to pursue their careers effectively using the internet?  In summarising the skills and knowledge required for your students to pursue their careers effectively through using the internet, Tristram Hooley identified seven elements for developing digital career literacy, which he called the ‘seven C’s’.

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An Introduction to using Digital Careers Resources

The internet is shifting the context within which individuals explore and develop their careers.  What does this mean for schools? 

  • Creating a Digital Careers Library – accessing and using resources
  • Developing digital careers management skills
  • Creating digital portfolios and passports
  • Using e-learning to improve employability skills
  • Online profiling to support successful applications

In this first article in the series we will be looking at creating  a Digital Careers Library.

Creating a Digital Careers Library

The internet offers a massive information resource for young people. It provides an opportunity to improve the quality of information, to harness the linked nature of the web to draw in external resources  and to provide a more media-rich experience through the use of pictures, audio and video.   

Your students will increasingly require access to more personalised careers information. In our rapidly changing world, it is impossible for an adviser to have a completely up-to-date and fully inclusive knowledge of every career, learning or training opportunity.  By creating a high quality digital career library for your school, you can provide your students with information on virtually any opportunity.  You can also provide a marketplace where your students can apply for opportunities in learning and work.

Why is this so important? 

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Careers for School Blog - Ideas, thoughts, news, opinion

Our blog is a place where leaders, careers managers, advisers and teachers can share their thoughts about careers work in schools and colleges.  The main focus is on practical day-to-day issues in your school or college:

  • raising the profile of careers
  • access to resources
  • using online tools and resources to make your job easier
  • developing digital careers literacy skills
  • encouraging young people to become more proactive and develop their independent research skills
  • helping non-specialists deliver the careers agenda
  • engaging parents
  • monitoring and tracking

Our experts will also keep you up-to-date with the reports relating to CEIAG. 

If you would like to contribute to our blog email us at enquires@careersforschools.co.uk