Sure, getting a job in social media sounds fun. But perhaps this field, more than any other, requires a strong, positive reputation in the social space. It is about creating a brand for yourself so recruiters know who you are the moment they look at your social profiles, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, your YouTube channel, your blog or something else.
So ask yourself these questions about your social media activity before you send your resume along. And hopefully you’ll say YES to all of them.
- Do I have (or am I tagged in) any inappropriate pictures/videos of myself?
- Have I said anything negative about a brand?
- Do I have a weak presence?
- Am I completely lost when it comes to the latest trends?
- Am I only on Facebook and lacking experience in the latest channels?
Answering YES to any of these could result in a major social media reputation fail! You’ll be saying goodbye to that interview before you even get the phone call. Just say NO!
- Do I have (or am I tagged in) any inappropriate pictures/videos of myself? If so, delete them or untag yourself (if it’s on Facebook). This could also be Twitpic, Flickr, a blog, etc. If you can’t delete them or you’re really attached to that booze cruise pic in Cabo, change the privacy settings so no one can get a peek.
- Have I said anything negative about a brand? Sure, we’ve all had those 20-minute-on-hold, so called “customer service” moments but tweeting about them or complaining on Facebook can only cause more harm than good when it comes to trying to get a job in social media. That recruiter might be working for one of those brands. Hello, foot-in-mouth syndrome.
- Do I have a weak presence? I’m not talking about having 400 friends on Facebook. Who are your connections on LinkedIn? Is your LinkedIn page 100% complete? Do you have a strong Twitter following? Do you tweet frequently? Is your Twitter avatar just an egg? What’s your Klout score? Consider how you can build your network before you apply for that job. But be careful – recruiters will see right through you if you’re suddenly tweeting like mad.
- Am I completely lost when it comes to the latest trends? Just like any industry, being up to speed on the industry is critical. Questions around this topic will arise in your interview and could be good fodder for cover letters and inquiries. For social media, I check out Mashable, Techcrunch and Mediapost on a daily basis.
- Am I only on Facebook and lacking experience in the latest channels? Social media is a fast-paced, ever-changing industry. One minute Quora is the talk, the next, it’s Pinterest. Klout and Kred. MySpace and Facebook. Google Buzz and Google+. I recommend joining the new sites vs just reading about them. You’ll be able to speak to them with more crediblity that way. Besides, recruiters can see where you’re hanging out and you’ll look good if you’re venturing in the latest and greatest.
It may be tough to remember what pictures live where and what you said in 2008 on Facebook. So think like a recruiter and search around for yourself on social media. Googling yourself helps.
Let’s say you answered yes to one or some of these. Be honest and transparent with recruiters. “Yes, I said I didn’t like X brand but here’s what I learned from the experience.”
Have you cleaned up your act? Any other questions you’d add to this list? Feel free to trick me back in the comments.