In my previous post in this series, I discussed how blogging and tweeting were key elements to sharing my expertise on intranets. Additionally, I discussed the value of spending time outside of my "day job" exploring social networks, developing ideas about how they could be useful in business, and volunteering on the social media committee at my company. While all of these activities were elements in establishing my credibility as someone who both understood the needs of businesses and the application of social media to accomplish those goals, none of them were the critical element that afforded me the opportunity to interview for a job in social media strategy.
The key element, in fact, is one that has everything to do with social networking and nothing to do with online social media. The fact is, without personal relationships and recommendations, it is highly unlikely that I would have my job as Director of Social Media.
You see, while I was working hard at blogging, tweeting, and helping my previous company develop a social media strategy, a job search was being conducted for the role of Senior Manager of Social Media Strategy for a digital marketing agency. I had no knowledge of the job search, didn't know much about the company, and the recruiters looking to fill the position didn't know me from Adam.
So how did I find out about the job? A personal referral.
Lucky for me, the Executive Vice President for the hiring company happen to have coffee with a colleague of mine, who was very aware of my passion for social media. The EVP told my colleague about the position they were trying to fill and he shared information about me, my passion for social media and my knack for solving business problems. Apparently, his recommendation was good enough, because the EVP reached out to me, we had a couple of great phone conversations, and then she asked me if I'd like to come in for an interview.
Wow! I wasn't even looking for a job in social media, but a job in social media found me. Cool, eh?
So what were the critical elements that brought me together with my role as Senior Manager of Social Media (notice, the title is not Director, yet)? Real-life relationships and trust.
My colleague had to know me and understand my passion well enough to recommend me. And the EVP had to trust my colleague's recommendation enough to give me a call. Without these personal relationships and trust, I would have never connected with the EVP and I wouldn't have received the interview opportunity, let alone the job offer.
In my opinion, this experience embodies what social media is all about. It's not about targeting, or demographics, or profiling. Heck, the recruiters could have spent a ton of time sifting through resumes of people they thought might have the right qualifications (and maybe they did). But the reality is that they recruited me based on a personal relationship developed between two people, built on a foundation of trust. If that's not social networking at its best, I don't know what is.
So there you have it. The critical elements that I feel earned me the opportunity to serve as Senior Manager of Social Media Strategy. Sure, my blogging and tweeting also played a big part, as the EVP reviewed my activities, articles, and relationships, but without the relationships and trust, there wouldn't have even been a conversation.
That wraps up part 2 in this series of three articles. If you landed her from search or from a tweet, be sure to check out the first article in the series focusing on building experience, blogging, tweeting, and collaborating in the social space.
For everyone else, stay tuned for the third article in the series as I discuss how I went from Senior Manger of Social Media Strategy, to Director of Social Media.