How to get a job in social media


Social media was one of last year’s hottest business buzz words and nearly everyone has jumped on the bandwagon. But with social media being so accessible to anyone and everyone with a computer and an Internet connection, it can be tough to stand out.

Thanks to its accessibility, more and more people are claiming to be social media experts, but adding the words “guru” or “superstar” to your name probably won’t do you any favours.

When hiring someone to head up their social media department or implement social media strategies, employers are not only looking for someone who truly understands the social media space, but for someone with more than just personal experience.

Even those with maximum personal experience online should be questioned about the results they’ve achieved through social media.

It’s not necessarily true that having no professional experience with social media means you’ll never land a job in social media, but web-savvy companies will want proof that your personal online networking skills are transferable to their business.

So, if personal experience is all you have, be honest about it and start looking for ways to get the measurable experience companies are looking for. Starting your career in any industry may mean volunteering your time, but that’s especially the case in an industry as new as social media.

Working on social media accounts other than your own, even if it’s only for a few hours a week, will gain you much more respect in the social media industry than a questionable title will.

So rather than trying to convince the world you’re a social media expert because you have 500 followers on Twitter or because you’ve had a Facebook account since day one, find the organizations which already have a social media strategy in place and ask if you can help tweet, poke or blog.

Like any industry, you have to start somewhere. The good news is that with so many companies looking to expand their online experience to social networks, there is plenty of experience to be had. And some companies will even pay for it.

Photo credit: social media bandwagon via liako on Flickr
About the author

Sophie Bifield is a social media consultant who has spent close to 5000 hours professionally (and a whole lot more personally) creating online communities. Aside from being addicted to everything social media and being able to speak fluent web slang, she is also a graduate of Queen's University's psychology program. When not immersed in cyber space, @sophiebifield spends her spare time fundraising and training to run a marathon for diabetes. Check out her blog here.