Dear Socially Stephanie:
I'm graduating from college soon, and I'm looking for a job. I think I'd be really good somewhere in social media. What should I make sure potential employers know about me during the hiring process? How can I make myself an attractive candidate?
Seeking in Skokie
Ahh, college graduation. I can remember it like it was yesterday. I too was standing right where you are: bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, eager to face the world and show them what I have to offer. When I graduated and got started in "new media" (that's what they called it back then), social media consisted of Friendster and forums. Oh yes, we've come a long way, which gives you both a huge opportunity and a challenge at the same time.
Before anything else, you need to think about how you can help the companies you are interviewing with to grow. That's what most business owners care about. Believe me, I am one. Start thinking about your skill set and how it can add value to your future company.
Now, think about where that skill set fits into the overall social eco-system. Below, I've defined the different roles one can play. As you read these, think about them hard and good. You'll need to become really laser-focused on where your strengths lie and where your weaknesses hide. In a large corporation, you might have the luxury of specializing in one of these roles. But to honest, the more of these personas and characteristics you possess, the better off you'll be.
The first type of social media person is the "Content Creator." The content creator is the blogger, the graphic designer, the copywriter, the videographer. In other words, this person is a creative and their job is to make awesome, amazing content that customers and consumers want to SHARE. Social is all about sharing, remember.
The next type of social media persona is the "Social Engager." This is the community manager, the town-mayor, the communicator, the outgoing-talks-to-everyone type of person who gets their fans talking and sharing in return. (There's that word again: sharing.)
Then there's the "Hall Monitor." This person monitors all the good and bad things that are being said around the social web. This person has a dirty job, so he or she must have tough skin and be able to ban people at a click of a button.
Of course, there is the "New Age Advertiser." This person is creative with words and images yet can punch numbers, stick to a budget and calculate things that start with C: CPC, CPL, CPA, and CPM.
And lastly, there is the "Jack-Of-All-Trades." This is the person you want to be. This person can do it all. Juggling the blog content while engaging the audience. Check. Coming up with creative and optimizing the ads. Check again. Whatever is thrown at you, you can handle with ease. This is where you will really add value to the company you work for.
So how can you prepare? Start creating an online social portfolio and fill it with all your fabulous ideas. Create graphics that could be used socially. Create messaging that converts. Create a few fake ad campaigns that are designed to get people engaged. Write a few different blog posts that are talking to a specific audience. Lastly, use your portfolio as a case study. Get others to share it. If you can get others talking about and sharing your content, then you're golden.
Oh, and don't forget to cleanse your social media channels so your best self is presented. That means drinking photos, hootchie mama Halloween costumes, and anything that you wouldn't want your granny seeing has to go. And never talk poorly about a company you want to work for or want to interview for.
Do you have a question for Socially Stephanie?
Please email [email protected] and let Stephanie help you solve your social quandaries, queries, and boondoggles. (Questions may be edited for length and clarity.)
Illustration by Jesse Wells