Media Employability 2.0

Vanessa Jackson, Dave Harte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study explores how Media Studies students at Birmingham City University use social media to enhance their professional profile and employability. Social media is being used by a significant number of students to promote and publish their work online, including setting up micro-companies, networking with industry professionals, and arranging media placements and paid work. Through the use of questionnaires, to provide quantitative data, and focus groups to provide qualitative data, the significance social media plays in enhancing the students’ professional profiles is analysed. The focus groups include students who are actively using social media in this context, as well as those who are not, in order to understand why some students find these tools valuable, whilst others do not. The extent to which social media can develop the students’ social capital is examined. The research supports the idea that social media can be an important tool in developing the professional profile of a Media student, with almost a quarter of students finding placements or paid work through social media. Examples of ‘best practice’ are identified, including strategies for approaching industry professionals. The research approach is informed by Holmes’ (2006: 13) notion of a ‘graduate identity approach’ to employability research, which examines the ‘constructed nature of socially meaningful behaviour, and in turn the key concepts of warranting, practices, and emergent identity.’ The findings offer some reflections on how Web 2.0 tools are used by students and finds that students implement a range of strategies that in general, make distinctions between their emerging professional personas and their private lives. Boyd and Marwick’s (2010) notion of the ‘networked audience’, by which individuals communicate to an ‘imagined audience’ through their tweets, in some ways reflects students’ use of social media.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-56
Number of pages14
JournalMedia Education Research Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • social media, employability, Web 2.0, Media Industries

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