Teaching about social media and job hunting

Teacher with online student

Classroom activities for secondary school students to understand the impact of social media on job hunting.

Social media is changing the way we find jobs. Students need to understand that their behaviour online could be looked on poorly by future employers. They also need advice on how to use social media to land the job they want when they’re ready to leave school.

We’ve looked at New Zealand Curriculum achievement objectives for health, technology and English and have come up with some activities suitable for Years 9 to 13, with adjustment.

Managing students' online reputations

Infographic shows the results of a CareerBuilder survey of employers about social media and job applicants. Employers said about applicants on social media that 27% had poorly written posts, 22% had unprofessional screen names, 38% posted about drinking and doing drugs, 27% lied about their qualifications, 17% posted content too often, 30% said negative things about an employer or employee and 32% made negative comments about race, gender or religion.

In a Career Builder survey employers rejected applicants with these social media errors

Students need to be careful about how they share images and opinions online. They need to clean up any information that might damage their future job chances.

  • Give students a job advert for an apprentice job as well as a selection of mock CVs from applicants. In groups, have students choose the best person for the job. Then hand them mock images and social media posts for the applicants. Have students choose the best person for the job again. Discuss as a class if their decision changed, and why.
  • Give students a job description and some examples of LinkedIn profiles. In groups, have them match the best profile to the job description. Get the groups to report on the reasons for their choice to the rest of the class.
  • Have students list what they think employers are looking for when they hire staff. Then get students to search online for images and posts about themselves. Is there anything an employer might not like? In groups, have students research how to clean up their online information.
  • Get students in groups to build a checklist on what to post and what not to post about themselves online.

Lesson plans you may like to try as featured on the Netsafe website:

Preparation for students to find jobs online

Finding a job is firmly digital – through online vacancy websites, networking websites and social media platforms such as Facebook.

  • In groups, ask students to research an online platform, such as a job vacancy website or a specific career website such as New Cops or Defence Careers. Have them create a presentation about the platform they choose.
  • Have students create a mock profile for an online networking website such as LinkedIn or Behance. Have other students peer review their profiles.
  • Have students brainstorm some rules to keep them safe when applying for jobs through Facebook and other social media platforms.
  • Get students to create CVs using our CV Builder tool. Have them email their CV to you with a proper cover letter and appropriate email address.

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Updated 29 Aug 2019