AGCAS Social Media Training

Today I delivered a Social Media for Beginners course to AGCAS members, the audience was primarily mad up of Careers Advisers and Careers Services’ employees. My aim for the sessions threefold:

  • was to show them how they can utilise Social media for personal/professional development,
  • how social media can supplement their advisory work,
  • How it can be used by careers services

It was an all day event and included the following sessions. Furthermore to supplement the entire day I produced this Google Site, to enable them to access further materials.

Introduction to social media

This session started with discussion around ‘what is social media?‘ and as expected the audience responses were mostly around Social Networks (Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn). This lead nicely into the presentation as i wanted to show them that Social Media encompasses so much more.

The main theme of the presentation, I tried to link closely to something that Careers Advisers are very familiar with, Transferable Skills. In particular the skills that are required to utilise the full potentials of Social Media. To do this I used Tristam Hooley’s 7Cs of Career Digital Literacy, linking each of the skills to the techologies that support them.

On reflection, I was happy with design of session and linking of skills to technologies. However I did feel, and feedback from the session supported that the range of technologies mentioned was probably a little too advanced for the start of a beginners course. This may have worked better if I introduced the skills at the beginning of the day, possible taking it as far as RSS. Then enabled attendees to find there comfort zone with some of the practical sessions, which focused on the Connecting and Communicating skills. Then introduced some of the more advanced technologies later on.

Making the most of Twitter

This is a session I really enjoy delivering and have done so many times. It focuses on getting started and getting used to some of the conventions of Twitter, from @s to #tags and beyond. With activities along the way.

One activity I use in this session, in the section on ‘what to tweet‘ is a simple card sort activity in which participant order the example tweets shown here into the order of interestingness. This is designed to give them a flavour of what people enjoy reading on Twitter.

On the whole I was pleased with this session, apart from the fact our computers here at Leicester still run Windows XP and Internet Explorer 7, which Twitter no longer supports, hence some participants struggled to access. Fortunately our network is being upgraded over the summer!

LinkedIn Lab

In this practical session we looked at some of the key features of the Network including: Profiles, Interest Groups, Companies and Searches. In terms of the networks I, as I suspect is true for many users, don’t use LinkedIn very “socially”. However it power as a careers advisory tool is second-to-none, this is what I intended to show in the session, how Careers Advisors could use it when supporting students.

On reflection I felt the Activities in this session where a bit weak, or at least needed clearer distinction from the presentation. During the delivery I felt I keep getting a bit lost between my slides and demonstrating on the actual LinkedIn Website. One action point to come out of the session was the idea of producing a/some demonstration Student LinkedIn Profiles, to enable us to demonstrate the sort of information a Leicester student could populate their profile with.

Using Social Media as a Careers Service, Advising Students and Panel

In this session I case studied our University of Leicester Social Media presence and how we manage them. I then went on to highlight the advice and guidance we give to students as part of the Leicester Award. This included managing their digital footprint, using social media to engage and network with employers and how it can be used to gain commercial awareness.

We followed this with a panel discussion. The panel included:

  • Zara Hooley – Leicester Award Coordinator – who shared thoughts on her own professional use of Social Media and how we use it with students
  • Victoria Russel – University of Leicester Online Communications Officer – who shared thoughts on messaging and engagement as a Service/Institution
  • Lee Clarke – Candidate Attraction Manager at – who gave an experienced perspective on how employers and recruiters use Social Media

The discussion were useful, the key points to come out were:

  • Networking is always identified as a Careers skill, and ‘Social Networking’ has become part of this. Thus more advice and guidence needs to be provided. I am keen that we include some of this information on our redeveloped website.
  • Lee, I felt, made a pertinent point, which was as the labour market changes and younger generations join it the role that social media plays will become more important. Highlighting the example that maturer CEOs of companies may not be active now, but when the next generation  takes over the activity, presences and awareness will increase.


All-in all I was quite happy with the design of the day. My designed timing went out the window a bit, this was partly due to the discussions that were going on in the sessions. So this is no bad thing.

The feedback from participants I received reflected some of my feelings:

For the questions:

  • The training day met my expectations
  • Activities were relevant and appropriate
  • I feel that I can use the information /skills gained today to assist my professional practice
  • Overall, I think that the session was valuable

All participants Strongly Agreed or Agreed.

For the written statements (my comments in italics):

  • What part of the session was most useful?
    • Range covered
    • Practical exercise; working on scenarios
    • Twitter demo and exercise
    • LinkedIn demo and exercise
    • Panel was good to get insight into how other universities work and to have an employer’s prospective
    • Awareness of a range of social media tools
    • Share experience with the panel
    • Gain more general understanding of social media to talk about to students, make them aware of the importance of online presence
    • All
  • What part of the session was least useful?
    • All useful but the pace was too fast
      I agree with this, I possible tried to squeeze to much in and as mentioned my timings went astray
    • LinkedIn as I already knew a lot about it
      Fair comment, as said above activities needed improving
  • Do you have any other comments, including suggestions for future sessions?
    • Access to the slides to share with my colleagues
      Here you go!
    • Morning session before lunch was too long
    • Break between LinkedIn and Twitter sessions
      Timing issues!
    • Providing intermediate level training
      I would love to – even more advanced

1 Comment

  1. It was a great session Matt 🙂


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