Fancy a job in digital comms? Then your digital profile might just need a bit more love, thought and attention.
I don’t believe there is any such thing as a social media ‘guru’ but I have recently been for a number of social media jobs and have learnt a few things along the way. These are the things I’ve learnt during the process, I hope you find them useful.
· Show your enthusiasm for the subject!
Obvious, yes, but it’s surprising how few people showcase their skills and experience online when applying for digital jobs. You love this stuff, so be online loving it, it’s positive and encouraging stuff for your potential next employer.
The easiest way to show that you’re good at social is ensuring your own digital profile is visible, well articulated and clear. You don’t have to do everything but the channels you do use should showcase your interests and skills.
Thinking about digital professionalism and your digital footprint goes without saying. This article suggests LinkedIn will become the number one recruiting portal in the future. If you’re tweeting, blogging and have a digital presence, it should show you’ve created your own space online and that you’re serious about this stuff. The old tip applies: don’t tweet something you wouldn’t want your boss to see.
Want a job in digital? I’d say this advice is even more relevant, no employer wants to see a prospective candidate tweeting inappropriate content. This is a great article on how your social media presence could be hurting your job search. Be aware of this.
For me, creating a social media presence meant connecting with professional social media types on Twitter, starting a local group for digital professionals to meet up, as well as keeping up with another keen interest of mine – political journalism. On top of this I have a craft blog, which may sound incongruous but it is where I have learnt a lot of skills, and where I enjoy learning new (and important) skills as a social marketer.
Use whatever suits you best, there are a number of professional websites out there apart from LinkedIn you can use to showcase your CV, About.Me for example. Here are a couple of good examples of About.me being used well:
· Start something new...
Is there a gap in your area for a social media meet up? Is there a hyperlocal website that needs curating? Is there a Twitter account or Facebook page for a specific cause or campaign you’d like to see that meets a genuine need? Start one, develop it, ensure it’s useful to people who engage.
Once you’ve done this, it will be great for interviews, you can show that you clearly understand a genuine need and you’re meeting this need, fulfilling it for people online, and how best you’re juggling this online and offline. These are all key skills for social media jobs and will show you are genuinely interested in the strategy as well as the nuts and bolts of managing social media.
I started a LinkedIn group for local professionals working in charity and public sector digital communications to meet face to face and it’s been very useful to lots of people.
· When you get an interview, identify the organisation’s overall needs, find out what they could be doing better and show them how to improve.
o Use examples of organisations doing social well, grab screenshots, make sure they’re recent and relevant to the organisation you’re applying to
o If it’s a charity, does the organisation have a social media policy and a strategy in place?
o Are there things about the organisation’s online presence that you’d change?
o Be specific about what you’d do differently with the Facebook/Twitter/blog/Google + pages and why
· Find yourself a mentor...
In an industry that is constantly changing it’s important to keep up with trends, tricks and techniques. Find someone who can help plug your experience or knowledge gap, most people will happily help or at least put you in touch with someone else who can. It was my job to go out and find out about social media, so I simply went looking for someone I could consistently rely on for advice, examples and to simply ask ‘how does this work?!’
This article discusses the merits of networking with other social media types as well as filling your RSS reader with social media new so you can stay on top of trends.
If you’re looking for specific knowledge and expertise, seek it out. I found someone who could fill that gap and I encourage you to do the same thing: it’s about being plugged into a community of likeminded, knowledgeable individuals.
· If possible, contact the person managing the role.
This one is general and not specific to social media but it’s still important and it’s about getting to know the situation you’re stepping into. Specifically, the role, the organisation and the ethos of the team, before you go to the interview, so you don’t go in cold. If you know the situation before you get there, you’ll know if the role – and organisation – is for you, and you’ll be more convinced (and convincing) when you’re discussing yourself and the role. Essentially, it lets you get to the meat of the interview, rather than leaving you distracted by the strange psychology that, understandably, takes over for so many people during the interview process.
Bethany Crowe is Social Media Coordinator at Sustrans
Bethany has recently started the excellent Social Media South West, a group for those working in public, charity or voluntary community sector organisations in the South West to network with other professionals and enthusiasts who work, or are interested in networking, sharing best practice and learning social media skills. You can view and join the group here.