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  • Students Should Be Proactive to Network Professionally on Facebook

    August 03, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    Best Practices
    A woman signs into Facebook to network with others in her field.

    TAGS: social media

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

    The “Career Counselor's Guides to Social Media in the Job Search” were originally written and have been recently updated by Kevin Grubb of Villanova University, Shannon Conklin of Temple University, and Megan Wolleben of Bucknell University. The updated guides are available at Following is information from “The Career Counselor's Guide to Facebook.”

    Many students might think Facebook and professional networking are like water and oil: They cannot be mixed. But, with more than one billion users on Facebook, and the number of connections a student may already have there, it’s hard to deny there is great possibility to make connections on this network.

    In 2013, Facebook rolled out a new way to search the social network called “Graph Search,” which it described as a way to “find more of what you’re looking for through your friends and connections.”

    Now, Graph Search has been rolled into Facebook’s search functionality for the site. The search capability allows a user to intuitively search Facebook, and the functionality is a bit different from a Google search. Students can use this in a professional way and reach new connections by typing in a search like “People who work for [insert organization name] and went to [insert college/university name]” or perhaps “People who went to [insert college/university name] and majored in [insert major].”

    These types of searches would yield results of those who are both already friends and those in their existing networks. This could be a great way for students to meet new people who could have similar professional interests and could provide a connection or resource.

    Beyond Graph Search, there are four key actions a student can take to use Facebook to build professional connections: creating friend lists, sharing professional status updates and articles, exploring company pages, and joining groups.

    • Creating Friend Lists—Creating a list for professional contacts is an easy step students can take to ensure proper information is shared, or not shared, with certain populations. Students can do this by going to their friends list and choosing to “Create List.” Students can start with any current connections who fit this category and can add more members at any time.
    • Sharing Professional Status Updates and Articles--Once lists are created, it is easy to share certain status updates, photos, and other profile information with only members of lists that a student chooses. Conversely, students can also not share elements of their profile or updates with certain people or lists. Encourage students to share status updates about job or internship searches, and professional status updates about projects, leadership positions, internships, or classes. In addition, many news sources have ways to easily share articles built into their platforms. This is an easy way for students to share what they are reading, which can help show their interest in a certain field or industry.
    • Exploring Company Pages—Many companies and brands have a Facebook page. These are great places for students to see if they already have a connection in their network to a company for which they would like to work. Furthermore, pages are a great resource for students to find out what is happening at the company, get a sense of the culture, and what news matters to the industry. All of this can be beneficial when preparing for an interview or upcoming networking event.
    • Joining Groups and Topic Pages—While not as prolific as Facebook pages, and a bit harder to find, groups can offer a unique way to network on Facebook. Students should search for groups relating to their interests, internships, and industry preferences. If a student joins a group, encourage him or her to become a valuable contributor to that community to help promote his or her understanding, knowledge, and interest within that community. Facebook groups allow people to share pictures, videos, and links all within the group. Another benefit of groups is that students can e-mail group members very easily, which is not the case for pages.