As new technologies continue to find favor with students, opportunities abound for college career centers to share career development information creatively. From Facebook pages to LinkedIn Groups and Twitter feeds, many career centers are eager to meet students where they live – on the internet.
Within the past year, the new visually rich virtual pin board Pinterest has steadily gained popularity with students, employers, and college career centers alike. According to Experian’s “2012 Digital Marketer: Benchmark and Trend Report,” this content sharing website is the third most popular social media platform, with over a hundred million visits a month and growing.
Pinterest allows users to create and share virtual bulletin boards about any topic of interest. From inspirational quotes to design ideas or meal inspiration, Pinterest contains a wealth of stimulating content. With free membership and endless possibilities, Pinterest creates unique opportunities to make career development learning visually appealing and non-threatening to students.
Using Pinterest in Career Services
College career centers currently using Pinterest have typically developed boards devoted to college majors, resume and cover letter examples, interviewing preparation, social media strategies, visuals of appropriate professional attire, suggested resources, and even inspirational career quotes. Each of these boards contains links to articles, YouTube videos, infographics, or illustrations of value.
In addition to content sharing, Pinterest might also be useful for career centers to:
Pinterest is also gaining popularity as a career development and job search tool. However, given its diverse content (much of which has tended to focus on life and leisure), most college students may not know to pin purposefully. Career services professionals may guide students as follows:
Using Pinterest for Self- and Career Exploration
Pinterest puts the user in charge of their self- and career exploration in a very fun, engaging, and visually stimulating way. By self-authoring boards and pinning from virtually any website, students are able to collect, organize, and express their interests in one place. Whether passionate about photography, education, technology, or design, Pinterest gives students the opportunity to explore careers and self. As students are exposed to the millions of pins contributed by other Pinners, they may also develop new interests worth exploring further. Encourage students to:
Using Pinterest for Job Searching
Many companies have started using Pinterest to share information about their products, mission and values, employees, and company culture. Some employers even use Pinterest to recruit by linking to available jobs. Encourage students to:
Pinterest Concerns and Best Practices:
Although Pinterest is a fun and engaging way to support college student career development, there are concerns. As with any new technology, there is significant time commitment involved in becoming familiar with Pinterest. Gathering information from across the web can also be very time-consuming for students and administrators. Given that Pinterest has often been skewed towards the young adult female population (with only a recent slow but steady growth in male interest), this time investment might not be justifiable for all colleges. Career center personnel that are ready to take action are encouraged to:
Vera V. Chapman, Ph.D, is a Licensed Professional Counselor currently practicing as a Career Planning Specialist at The University of Mississippi while teaching in an Adjunct capacity. Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, a study abroad experience to Clemson University in turn led her to The University of Mississippi, where she pursued graduate degrees in Counseling and Higher Education. She finds great purpose in empowering others towards becoming the most extraordinary version of themselves – something she likes to call “chasing your fire.” Vera actively shares career and life planning success strategies through Twitter (@VeraVChapman) and blogging (ChasingYourFire.com). She may be contacted at email@example.com.