I have been sifting through CV’s for a large part of this weekend, and the disconnect between expectations is increasingly apparent. I hope to address this somewhat so here are five tips for students/ grads keen to work in social media at an agency.
1) Build your portfolio
A degree illustrates competence, but experience speaks to drive, willingness to learn and ambition. ‘Experience’ as an abstract concept is often daunting, so set small goals. You aren't going to walk into BMW and demand they listen to your great idea. But you can get involved with a community publication and take it from there. I cut my teeth writing ad copy for a community radio station. You are not entitled to anything. Go out and do some volunteer work.
2) Cultivate a social presence
Social Media is a minefield of ‘gurus’, ‘mavens’ and a whole slew of expedient creatures who consider themselves ‘strategists’because they've listened to a TEDtalk by Seth Godin (the irony of this piece is not lost on me). It’s easy to get caught up in this stew and dole out your opinion like ‘flyers for Doctor Hakim’ at a street light. Are you adding value,or are you just contributing to the noise?
3) Think before you post
I will check your social media accounts before I call you in for an interview, therefore, don’t post anything you may regret later (especially if you favour taking half-naked selfies in the bathroom) Grammar and spelling are paramount so 'iF I c u typinz like dis dn ujus wastd ma tim'.
4) Jargon is not as important as actually knowing what it all means
This one seems pretty obvious, but creeps up in 90 percent of interviews. People drop a lot of jargon, in an attempt to impress me, but when I question them on it, they fall flat. It’s all well and good to tell me that ‘I always consider Edgerank when developing content’ but if you don’t know the three factors that make up Edgerank and how to leverage it, then what’s the point? An extension of this is when someone paraphrases Mashable’s stories from that day to show me that they are in the know. I'm a simple guy, and I like simple explanations where possible.
5) Measure, measure, measure
I have a curious mind and I am constantly testing hypotheses. Social Media allows you to experiment at relatively little cost, so there is a rationale behind every post and there is something to learn from every update. Therefore, reporting and interpretation is a key part of the position. Can you pick up on trends and spot potential opportunities or problems? When is the best time to post? What sorts of posts work best for your audience? I question 'best practice' all the time.
This is by no means exhaustive so please leave a comment with any questions. If you think you have what it takes, you can apply here