Social media plays an increased role in counselor-consumer communication, job search, and advocacy, and VR policies, guidelines, and social media training will become increasingly important for supporting effective counseling practice.
Increasingly, employers use online resources to recruit potential employees. Online career sites are the primary source of new recruits, and online research of candidates has become standard practice. Social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter also offer opportunities to network, and for employers to screen candidates.
Traditionally, rural areas have not had the telecommunication infrastructure to support successful online job search strategies. However, this landscape is changing as government incentives encourage the expansion of telecommunication infrastructure and high speed Internet is increasingly available in public places. Telecommunication strategies have the potential to remove transportation barriers, which are often identified as having a negative impact on employment outcomes, and could open up new employment markets through telecommuting.
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselors should be prepared to provide guidance about using social media for a wide range of job-search-related tasks, such as developing a positive online presence, and searching and applying for positions online. Although improved online job search competencies will benefit all VR consumers, rural consumers may have the most to gain, especially as telecommunication infrastructure increases in rural areas.
The Use of Social Media for Employment project is designed to improve VR counselors’ social media and online job search competencies.
- Study 1 consists of a VR social policy analysis to explore barriers to and facilitators of effective social media use in counseling practice. We will use policy findings to develop a recommended social media policy that promotes social media and online job search strategies within counseling practice while addressing ethical and confidentiality concerns.
- Study 2 is broken into three phases to (1) assess current counselor use and confidence using social media and online job search strategies, (2) develop a social media and online job search training intervention, and (3) evaluate the efficacy of the intervention for increasing counselor use of social media and online job search with their consumers.
- Project dates: 2013-2018
- Funded by: National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research Grant No. H133B080028
- Principal staff: Catherine Ipsen, Ph.D., Becca Goe, M.A.
- Related projects:
What the Research Says…
- Research Findings
Links to Publications
- Telecom Toolbox
- Developing and pilot testing an online career development training for Vocational Rehabilitation counselors (Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, August 2016)
- Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Guidance on Social Media Use: A Policy Analysis (Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, April 2017)
- Oct. 17, 2016: “Telecom Toolbox supports Disability Employment Awareness Month.”
- May 18, 2017: “Telecom Toolbox: A Resource for Job Seekers and Service Providers.”
- May 31, 2017: “6 Essential Elements of Social Media Policy for VR Agencies.”
- June 2, 2017: “Showcasing RTC:Rural employment and VR research projects.”
- April 13, 2018: “Telecom Toolbox guest blogger series shares telecommunication tips.”