Understand which role is right for you
While social media professionals can have many different job titles, their work can be broken down into six main types of roles:
Social Media Management
Analytics and Strategy
campaigns and advertising
Social Media Advertising and Paid Advertising
In smaller companies, these roles can all be bundled into one position. This means that if you’re applying to a small team, you’ll likely want to present yourself as a social media generalist with extensive skills in all of these areas, while for larger social teams, you’ll want to highlight your specific expertise in a key role.
It’s never too early to start thinking about what type of role you’re best suited for so you can focus your job search, education and skill building with the right framework.
- Create a social media presence
Your social media accounts reveal a lot about you — and potential employers are likely searching for this information, looking for clues as to your qualifications for the job or your fit with company culture based on what you post online.
Still, according to a national Harris Poll commissioned by CareerBuilder, nearly half of the hiring managers who use social media to screen candidates have found something that made them drop someone from the running for a job. The worst crimes on social media? Provocative or inappropriate photos, videos, or information (46 percent); and information about drinking or drug use (43 percent).
So should you just ban your social media profile? no The CareerBuilder survey also found that a third of hiring managers who use social media found something on social media that actually made them want to hire a candidate.
If you’re thinking about getting a job on social media, take a good look at your social profiles to make sure they’re showing you at your best. Look for two key strategies you write in developing your professional social media Twitter and Instagram.
Keep your profile picture professional and consistent across networks, but resize to the optimal dimensions for each network using these picture specifications.
Post regularly and with interesting insights on your social channels, whether by creating your own content or sharing your thoughts on content created by others.
Follow relevant accounts, influencers, hashtags and brands to stay up to date with what’s happening in the industry and to keep an eye out for job openings.
Connect with people in your industry through Twitter chats, LinkedIn groups, and other social spaces where you can nurture relationships that provide mutual value and expand your network. Keep in mind that 70 percent of people hired in 2016 had an established connection with the company, and recommended applicants are 15 times more likely to be hired than those applying through a job board.
If you want a glimpse of how these strategies work on a real person, Hootsuite copywriter Sarah Dawley shares how she used social media (particularly Twitter) to launch her own career in her blog post How to Land Your First Job Using boost social media social media.
- Know your stuff
Social media professionals wear a lot of hats, with responsibilities ranging from writing to revenue tracking, often all lumped into one position. They also need to have their finger on the pulse of the industry and be aware of the latest social developments that can have a major impact on social media strategy.
Hootsuite Academy offers free online social media courses on key topics like social marketing, content marketing, and social advertising. Over 200,000 social media professionals have benefited from this online tutorial developed by the social media experts at Hootsuite.
When you complete these, you’ll be listed alongside other certified social media professionals in the Hootsuite Academy directory.
Many social networks also have their own training and certification programs to help social media professionals learn the best ways to use each network’s specific tools — and highlight those skills on your resume for potential employers. Check out our post on brand certifications that will make you a better social media marketer to learn more about Facebook Blueprint, Google AdWords Certification, Twitter Flight School, Pinterest Propel and more.
Remember that training is an ongoing process. Data from the Pew Research Center shows that more than half of American adults in all occupations say it will be important to engage in continuing education and skills development throughout their working lives to remain employable — and 35 percent of working adults say so that they need more education or are training now to advance in the job they already have. This is especially true for social media professionals who work in an ever-changing landscape.
- Gain practical experience
It can be frustrating to browse job postings on social media only to find that they all require at least some level of experience. So how do you go about that experience when looking for your first social media job?
Whether you’re a recent graduate, a marketing generalist looking to specialize, or a seasoned marketer wanting more hands-on social experience, here are some options to enhance your resume and gain the experience you need need to create value for the future Employers:
Volunteer to create or manage the social media accounts for a charity or community organization that you are involved with or that reflects your personal values. If you don’t have the time to commit permanently, look for ways to get involved on social media for an event that will have a set end date.
Look for a social media internship to develop hands-on skills in the workplace. Make sure the internship aligns closely with your desired career path so you get the most relevant experience.
If you already have a marketing job but no social media experience, talk to your employer about how you can contribute to the company.