Social Media Careers: What Do New Grads Need to Know?
When I graduated from high school and college, social media careers weren’t an option for me at that time. In fact, they didn’t even exist yet. Without giving away my age (I hope!), I confess to being part of a generation that learned how to type on IBM Selectric II’s in high school. It’s laughable now, but the first computer I used, also during my high school years, was an Apple 11e. And yes, I saved my data on 5¼-inch floppy disks. Graduates today may call them “dinosaurs,” but we thought they were pretty awesome.
Back in those early days of computers and the Internet, most of us had no idea that technology or social media would evolve like it has. Some of us from that generation now have our own children who are attending and/or graduating from high school and college. Most of today’s students and graduates use mobile devices, tablets, laptops, etc. – and many probably began using them before they even started school. The rise in social media usage among current students and/or graduates goes hand-in-hand with technology’s evolution. College students like their technology, and they also like using social media. A lot. As such, it’s really not so surprising that current graduates are out there pursuing social media careers.
Within the past decade or so, increasing numbers of these social media savvy graduates are embarking upon careers within marketing and related fields. As marketing roles continue to expand and evolve with social media in the mix, today’s graduates have more opportunities to begin social media careers than before.
AOL recently published an article, “6 Social Media Jobs That Will Be Big In 2014.” This article makes several good points about how businesses currently view the need for social media:
According to Constant Contact’s Small Businesses: Then and Now Survey conducted in May 2013, social media marketing has exploded, with 87 percent of small businesses using social media as a marketing tool today.
Companies of all sizes have embraced social as a staple
One thing is abundantly clear: social media is now necessary for global commerce, and 2014 will be the catalyst for vital social media marketing positions.
What are some of the things new graduates who are interested in social media careers need to know?
#1 Avoid the kitschy social media titles
If you’re seriously considering a career in social media, you must never (and I do mean NEVER), refer to yourself as any of the following:
and so on…
Real social media careers do not include any of these titles – but it’s great to have the real skill sets and expertise associated with them.
#2 Research all the requirements needed for today’s social media jobs – then make sure you really do have those skill sets when applying for them
Just knowing how to tweet or update Facebook does not make you the best candidate. Many social media careers require that you know how to do those things, of course. However, companies are going to recruit and interview individuals who also have keen analytical, communication, and research skills when hiring for their social media positions. Different areas of social media (i.e., SEO, content, strategy, etc.) require different skill sets, and having knowledge and experience in more than one area makes you even more attractive as a candidate.
#3 Make sure you love challenges and that you have very thick skin
When it comes to jobs, social media careers are still quite new. The industry is mercurial with its frequent changes and challenges. A social platform may be hot one week, but not the next. Your well-written blog post may not resonate with your business’ audience like you expected. No one ever sees your creative posts you add regularly to your company’s Facebook page since organic reach bottomed out to only 1% of the page’s followers. Be ready to accept that you can never fully prepare yourself for everything social media careers entail – especially since things change so rapidly. When you arm yourself with common sense, flexibility, innovation and creativity, then you’re off to a good start.
#4 Always be yourself, no matter what
No matter which direction you take with pursuing social media careers – whether it be for yourself, an agency or a company – remember to stay true to yourself. The moment you begin working in social media is the moment you begin representing your brand. Make your persona and/or brand more valuable than the rest by being honest, sincere, and transparent.
Are you a new grad, or do you know any new grads, considering social media careers? I’d love to hear about it – please feel free to leave a comment.