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How Social Media Can Help You Get a Job…in Social Media

Posted Jun 02 2010 5:25am

After convincing you guys to start a blog and get Twitter in order to make all your dreams come true (someone told me I’m single-handedly populating Twitter, which I love), I wanted to talk about how social media can help you get a job…in social media. That’s a big part of what I do now as my “day job” and people either don’t understand what I do or think it seems sweet and want to do the same thing, but don’t know where to begin.

The why isn’t important here (the why is that you can make ridic amounts of money eventually). So let’s talk about the how.

Well there are really no rules on what you need to do to become a social media consultant. It’s a Wild Wild West, my friends! So here are two methods for how you can make social media your day job.

“I’m Rachel and I’m a social media person.” The fastest way to start working in social media is to just say you want to work in social media. You could start a blog about social media and start following lots of social media people on Twitter. You can take on a few free clients (friends of friends, your dad’s business, etc.) to build up a nice resume and portfolio. And then you can just start applying for social media internships and jobs (hint: the Craigslist “Marketing” page is a great place to look). That’s sort of how I did it.

But my tipping point came when I got really good at using social media to do something that didn’t relate to social media.

And that is…

See, the problem with Method #1 is that by only using social media to talk about social media, we aren’t really getting anywhere. We’re running in place. Who is going to read your social media blog? Other social media people. And while, yes, you can become important in that circle — and I’m not saying you shouldn’t do that — you need to get an audience who isn’t already using social media to the fullest. Don’t tell them social media works; show them that social media works.

Let’s go back to my original example of education. You might really want to get hired as a teacher. You love those fourth graders more than anything. So while you wait to get hired, you use Twitter to connect with schools and awesome teachers you admire. You send your future employers a YouTube video of you teaching a lesson in which you dressed up like a flower and sang a song you made up about photosynthesis. You share your blog with your other teacher friends and they love reading it. You’re the teacher with thoughts.

So you do get hired (probably based in part on mad video skills) and now you’re working at Awesome Elementary. Then at a staff meeting, you find out that Sweet City School District has decided they want to have a social media presence and they want to pay someone $75,000 a year to do it. (Yup.)

And now you can throw your scrunchie in the ring and say, “No one knows this district and loves it like I do. Don’t bring in an outsider! I’ll do the Sweet City School District’s social media for $50,000.”

Suddenly, you’re making way more than a first-year teacher and you’re still connected to your passion.

And that is what I did. (Except not for those kind of dollars, omg.) I took everything I knew about social media and applied it to the health and fitness niche. Suddenly I didn’t need to tell people I could teach them to use social media; the proof was in the fact that I had 1500 Twitter followers and the fact that I used vlogging to make Shedding It more popular. Other people — brands and individuals, health-related and not, all potential clients — just started coming to me. I had been talking about social media for a while, but it wasn’t until I just embodied what social media can do for people that I became the linchpin.

Every industry needs social media people. Every single industry. Be the first in your industry. Or do it better than people are doing it now.

And if you’re good enough at what you do, you can eventually leave your niche. Sure, I love coaching healthy living companies, but that doesn’t mean I can’t cross into different areas (where I can make more money). But sticking in your niche is a good place to start.

And the best part is, it doesn’t take much knowledge of social media to be the social media girl. Trust me on this. When I started, I didn’t know a lot, but I knew more than the people I wanted to hire me. I dropped the words “hash tag” in a cover letter and it was like, Ba-ZING! Let’s hire this girl because she is a genius! Big organizations/corporations know very little about social media — they just know that they need it. And these are the best employers because they would rather pay someone to do it for them…pay handsomely.

So if you take my advice and start a blog and get on Twitter to get a job…it just might get you an even better job in the long run!

Just sayin’.

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