The second most frequently asked question when I tell people I work in “social media” is “how can you get a job doing that?” (the first most asked question is “what is social media”). Here is the response I gave to such a question in a Linkedin form for community managers today:
I’ve written about how I secured my job in social media/community management, and you can check out the post.
The biggest piece of advice I can give to anyone looking to get into this business is start a blog or it’s equivalent where you talk about social media, technology, and community management. Even without the experience of working in the field, talk about your involvement in communities, your passion for them, what you like or dislike about them, how you propose to make a difference etc. This is more powerful than any resume you can draft. There is a saying in law “res ipsa loquitur” which means “the thing speaks for itself” – when you have a body of content you can point to that showcases your social media skills, this is more powerful than any resume.
I think that last line bears repeating: “when you have a body of content you can point to that showcases your social media skills, this is more powerful than any resume.” Too often we think the path to where we want to be professionally is a straight line. It’s not. That is a lie you learned in school, namely, “the formula.” The formula says: come to class, study for the test, take the test, get a good grade, move on (rinse, lather, repeat).
Life doesn’t work like this. My path to where I am today has be circuitous and unpredictable. Two years ago I never predicted working in social media despite having participated in it for years. The point is that I got to where I am by doing. I had been blogging pretty steady since 2005, writing about stuff I loved (video games and law), and positioned myself for opportunities with examples of my work rather than a resume.
One quick story and then out: I am currently looking for a web designer/PHP developer to help launch a new site. I have posts out on a variety of sites and am getting a ton of responses, but what amazes me is how many of those responses do not include links to samples of work. I don’t care that you have a resume full of jobs, qualifications, and experience. Show me the work. Res ipsa loquitur: the thing speaks for itself.