I’m a senior in college. As such it’s safe to say that just about everyone I know is freaking out about finding a job. Regardless, as an ICT student looking to enter the social media industry, my job seeking experience is and will be uniquely different from that of most of my friends. One may also argue it could be one of the most difficult. Allow me to explain.
Employers Are Scrutinizing My Social Network
I know you’ve heard it before. Employers are scanning your Facebook for any possible reason not to hire you. Scary right? Well if you think that’s bad, try applying for a social media position. It now goes double. My friends don’t quite understand this which is fine, but if I happen to be holding a drink in a picture and I say “please don’t upload that picture,” I mean PLEASE DON’T UPLOAD THAT PICTURE. But keeping clean on Facebook is only half the battle. Not only do social media applicants need to avoid posting negative content, but they also need to post positive content about their industry. What this means is you can’t simply be the employee they want on your resume and in the interview, you also need to be the employee they want in LIFE. And today your life is recorded on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Everything I do on social media is a part of my resume because all of it matters. Your life becomes transparent.
Stalk Your Employer on Every Social Network
This is probably what I enjoy most about the Social Media job search. The term “ Facebook stalk” was something I heard coined in high school. This could mean researching a crush, looking for embarrassing pictures of a friend, or trying to find out if your new roommate is crazy. Today, social media applicants need to “ Facebook stalk” their employers. I confess I do it all the time. And guess what? It’s just as fun as it was before. When employers are looking through hundreds of applicants, you can stand out by becoming familiar with their specific interests. Sound messed up? Maybe it kind of is. But it works. What you are doing is essentially catering to an employer as you should cater to a client. Background research is essential for both.When applying for a position, there are a couple of routine social media stalking procedures I put into place. I will follow them on Twitter, I will follow anyone they are actively engaging with, I will like their company on Facebook, and I will look for their personal interests. I’ve done everything from giving the impression of having similar music tastes to talking about the same sport teams they like. It’s not hard and it may just land you a job someday so why not?
It’s a Process
Understanding social media isn’t something that happens overnight. Or over five months. Or even over a year maybe. Social networking is community development and that is something that takes time. Sure it’s POSSIBLE to go out and develop a unique and engaging community in a month or less, but a following that is nurtured and developed carefully over-time is much more stable and rewarding which is why it is best to start as early as possible. Because you can’t exactly base social networking skills off of your GPA, experience reigns supreme for most applicants and the best way to gain experience is to pursue your own personal social media endeavors. Start engaging communities of people who share your passions. That way by the time you graduate, you can already prove you know your way around online social communication. If you get a late start, your experience will either be underdeveloped or noticeably rushed.