I was teaching a class of career advisors over the last few weeks on how to instruct their clients on the proper use of social media in their job hunts.

Several of their clients had lost their jobs because of inappropriate comments on Facebook.

Other clients had lost potential opportunities because of not having a photo on LinkedIn.

Shortly after the second class on Facebook Privacy, Facebook changed its privacy settings, making about 2 hours of training obsolete.

That’s fine with me, in fact, the pace of change is one thing that attracts me to this business.

However, some of the students asked the director to ask me for step-by-step instructions.

Step-by-Step Instructions Don’t Work

I had to decline this request for three reasons.

First, Facebook already looked a lot different than it had in our training. If I were to send them instructions, they wouldn’t recognize anything. Likewise, in another 3 months LinkedIn’s interface may change.

The reality is that the question of “Where to click” is the least of our worries when using social media.

Second, YouTube has a plethora of free video training on all aspects of social media. In fact, when I’m selling my webinar training services to Career Centers at universities, my biggest competition is YouTube.

It isn’t until I explain that the value in what I do, as different from YouTube, is that I’m not just showing people where to click. There is an actual strategy, with clear proven steps, that builds on mere technical knowledge.

And I never stopped the career advisors from taking notes.

You Can’t Advise What You Don’t Know Yourself

In a strange way, I really want to give people a magic sheet of paper with all the answers to their social media questions.

As advisors, we must be the answer. The value that I strive to impart was the reason behind learning social media.

The reason they should learn this stuff …

That 80 percent of employers are going to look their clients up online. That their first impressions are likely to be online impressions. That flippant comments on Facebook could cost you your job.

My goal when teaching social media is to impart the importance of really understanding the benefits of using it.

Social Media is not a silver bullet by any stretch of the imagination. It is just another tool to be used by a job seeker.

Getting comfortable with these technologies takes time. So when you are just getting started, try to resist the desire to have a sheet of paper with all the answers.

In due time, you will develop an intuition for the best ways to use these tools. Trust me.

To learn more about my curriculum designed to help you teach social media skills to your students based on many years of research, check out this download-able syllabus.