The role of social media in influencing career success

Alexei Nikitkov (Department of Accounting, Goodman School of Business, Brock University, St Catharines, Canada)
Barbara Sainty (Department of Accounting, Goodman School of Business, Brock University, St Catharines, Canada)

International Journal of Accounting & Information Management

ISSN: 1834-7649

Publication date: 30 September 2014



The purpose of this paper is to help us better understand if it is beneficial for individuals to use social networking sites (SNSs) to expand their networking opportunities, translating into greater career success. A significant key to career success is networking. SNSs are changing the way employees develop their networks with businesses and with other individuals.


This study uses archival data including academic records for 1,182 accounting alumni from a large Canadian public institution. This dataset was expanded by obtaining social network information (presence and use) for each individual’s record.


After controlling for a number of indicators of career success, the study found that presence on SNSs such as LinkedIn and the amount of activity therein has a strong and consistent association with metrics of professional success not found with non-professional sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.


This study provides empirical support for the value of social networking as a proxy for the development of social capital. Support is in establishing the link between a group of social network profile characteristics and metrics of one’s career success. Distinguishing LinkedIn as chiefly connecting to alumni successes may be reflected in the weights attached to the profile characteristics as opposed to information coming from other sources.



Nikitkov, A. and Sainty, B. (2014), "The role of social media in influencing career success", International Journal of Accounting & Information Management, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 273-294.

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