ideas, innovations and apps for social work in the age of smartphones and social media 

Social media as a tool for career development for social workers

Deona Hooper, founder of the network, shared her thoughts on „Social Work and Social Media: Tools for Networking and E-Advocacy“ on the blog, She emphasizes that social workers should use social media (i.e. Facebook, Linkedin) because

technology has the ability to create new ways of communication that has been previously denied to those with privilege or wealth such as the ability to self-publish, communication with someone abroad in real-time, and gather/organize resources quickly.

She underpins her recommendation by referring to the American National Association of Social Workers (NASW). NASW promotes networking by saying  that

as a social worker, we are often experts in identifying resources and community for the well-being and development of our clients, but we forget a very important tool for our professional development and growth!“

There are 5 reasons to network:

  1. Opportunity: Anytime you are around others (virtually or in person), you have the opportunity to meet people and uncover what they make have to offer to your life!
  2. Exposure: Have you written new research? Starting a new practice? Found a new technique to share? Networking provides the opportunity to expose others to the wealth of professional knowledge you have, and to be exposed to theirs!
  3. Contacts and Relationships: Whether finding a new job, a resource for your clients, or simply someone who simplifies your life; contacts are an essential part of the social work profession. Most business is done through referrals!
  4. Finding Common Ground: Everyone enjoys the company of others who are like-minded. Our common interests help ignite our passion for the profession and encourage personal growth.
  5. Learning: In the line for breakfast at a NASW-NC Conference, or answering a post on LinkedIn; social workers who participate in networking gather information and ideas at a fast pace! Knowledge is power!

According to NASW leadership ladders adding networking via social media to the usual face-to-face networking increases visibly and reach. So networking can also  be seen as an opportunity for career development.

networkingSocial media is one of the fastest growing areas for finding a job and making contacts. In a recent 2011 survey by the leading recruiting platform, Jobvite Survey, reveals that 89 percent of U.S. companies plan to use social media for recruiting (Jobvite, 2012). One of the social media online professional networks, LinkedIn promotes connections to people for professional networking and recruitment. Even though there are other web sites such as Facebook and MySpace, LinkedIn caters to business and professional encounters. Primarily, LinkedIn is where people can develop contacts with others who have similar career interests.

The benefits of networking are long-lasting and continuous throughout one’s social work career. Whether through social media outlets or face to face meetings, networking provides opportunities to talk with people, exchange ideas, and gain knowledge about career options, opportunities and jobs. Subsequently, in building and maintaining these professional contacts, social workers will be developing a reciprocal relationship where key resources will be continuously available for future career networking.


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Lutz Siemer

Lutz Siemer

Education, Research & Development in Social Work & IT After working as an alternative practitioner and psychotherapist in private practice for nearly ten years I stepped over to higher education in 2005. At Saxion University of Applied Sciences I lecture and do research and development in the area of Social Work, Psychology and IT. Currently I'm focussing on merging mobile technology and social work.

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