Despite its growing relevance, social media is considered a very non-traditional career path for any marketer, let alone an MBA. Still though, a year ago I realized that I wanted to pursue social media marketing as a full-time gig if only to articulate a broader theme for my post-business school career.
Imagine my surprise then when just last week an opportunity for a dream job in social media marketing popped up right in front of me. The opportunity came based on steps I had taken to position myself through social media networks and yes, I took the offer.
Smart minds like Jason Falls are quick to point out though that social media is not the panacea some marketers make it out to be. However, based on my experience, I am compelled to offer a slightly contrary viewpoint as well as some best practices I picked up along the way.
To sum it up; I fundamentally believe Jason is right in that only face-to-face interaction will close the deal on any potential job. The part where I disagree is that the nature of this job market benefits the job seekers who are prepared, flexible and able to pounce on an opportunity when luck strikes. In that way, social media is the perfect way to increase your chances of being in the right place and the right time.
To illustrate my point, here are four key best practices applicable to almost any job seeker in the social media space:
1) Develop your personal story
Social media is all about connection and the surest way to do make connections is to get people to latch on to your personal narrative.
Before you even approach the job market, make sure you can tell a compelling version of your story in 20 seconds. A good way to do this is to boil your story down to three sentences; a) who you are b) what your professional background looks like and c) why a and b make you perfect for your target job opportunity.
2) Come to the table with something besides just asking for a job
Conversations over social media are usually best suited for non-job related talk butt hey can lead to opportunities. Have your personal story in your back pocket but lead with something of shared interest between you and a social networking contact.
Don’t just jump in and say, “I would be perfect for your company!” Ask questions that demonstrate your competence in their area. Talk about a project you’re working on, talk about a project you’re thinking of starting, just talk about something other than the fact you need employment. The point is to get your contact to open up to you about their organization, what things are keeping them up at night and ways you can potentially be of service.
If you do this right and the opportunity really is there, the contact will offer some sort of opening and ask you about your job search. That’s when you roll out the personal story and pitch.
3) Create a target list of companies, then use LinkedIn to find contacts
I’ll admit; LinkedIn is not the best place for job listings. It is however, a great place to look for contacts at the companies you want to work with.
Start by doing a broad search of job postings on boards like Indeed.com. Set up an RSS feed for titles, descriptions and job requirements that match what you’re looking for and take note of the names of the companies that are hiring. Then, do a search for those companies in LinkedIn and see if any of your friends or their connections have contacts that can help you get your foot in the door.
Asking for a connection requires a little bit of guts but I have found that its very effective. In almost every instance, I was able to land at least a phone call with a recruiter. Even recruiters from companies that didn’t have positions respected the initiative I took and were more than glad to offer connections of their own.
4) Network relentlessly in person and in cyberspace
I will reiterate that all of these best practices are just to position you in social media. The rest of the journey is about being absolutely relentless in pursuing opportunities.
Check your RSS feeds, attend twitter meet-ups, and send out introduction emails. Whatever you do, keep the momentum up in your job search. It’s an exhausting prospect but when you find yourself in that right place, at the right time with the right tools, it’s worth it.
I am really grateful for the people who helped me along the way and want to pay it forward. If you’re struggling in your job search, message me here.
If have something to add to aid in people’s job search – please add it as a comment, I would love to collect as many best practices as possible and see if we can’t lend a hand to brilliant marketers that are still seeking jobs.
Also, to hear more; check out the singlecup podcast commentary:
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