I’ve been thinking about this blog post for over a year now. It’s been lingering because I wasn’t sure how to tackle this, but maybe that is actually the problem with social media; it is undefinable and everybody is still finding their feets on how to tackle this still relatively new monstrum.
However, The Guardian recently launched The Twitter Job Challenge aimed to drive young jobseekers to use social media to get a job. This triggered a Twitter conversation with Sara Barnard who had taken up the gauntlet.
She was responding to a blog post I wrote last year about the lack of young social media rock stars and indeed it was the blog that first made me think about how to get a job in social media.
The truth is you can’t get a job in social media.
Social media is embedded in everything. The way I described it to Sara was:
Think of social media skills as a second language and imagine social media industry as a foreign country.
It would be very difficult getting a job in a foreign country knowing only the language, but if you combine it with additional skills you not only have a better idea what job you are looking for but it also gives a potential employer something tangible to measure you by.
The complimentary skills to social media is vast:
- If you want to work in social PR you may be looking at copywriting skills
- If you want to manage internal collaboration platforms you would be looking at corporate communication
- If you want to work in social marketing you may want to look at traditional design skills
And other complimentary skills that springs to mind are technical skills, analytical skills, CRM skills, strategic skills…and the list goes on and on.
Broaden your social horizon
Nobody knows everything about Social Media but that doesn’t mean you can’t broaden your horizon.
Social media isn’t just Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, Last.FM and FourSquare.
There is so much more. For example see if you can recognise these companies who are all major or new social media players in their own respective areas:
Grapevine, Mixi, Chatter, Yammer, Attensity, Lithium, Storify, Radian 6, Instagram, StreamWork, Gree, Flavors, Confluence and the list goes on, those are the ones that sprung to mind while writing this post.
Point being you can’t possibly know them all so find out what you want to do in the land of social media and which complimentary skills you have to help define the perfect role for you. Then find companies working in the field your perfect role can, or already does, exist in.