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

by Rachel on June 2, 2010

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’.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sarah @ syrupandhoney June 2, 2010 at 9:32 am

I’m in awe…Seriously, girl, you are so inspiring!
.-= sarah @ syrupandhoney´s last blog ..CSA Week 2 =-.

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2 Hayley June 2, 2010 at 10:27 am

Love it. Instead of looking at twitter while you’re supposed to be working, why not have twitter as a JOB? Great advice!
.-= Hayley ´s last blog ..Rebecca: The Procrastinator’s Way To Race Day Morning =-.

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3 Ameena June 2, 2010 at 11:14 am

This post is fantastic and so inspiring! I love your writing style too!!

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4 Rachel June 2, 2010 at 11:21 am

Thank you for these comments you guys!! Seriously, I have SO MUCH passion for doing what you love and loving what you do and I think social media is an amazing resource…so it’s good to know you guys are connecting with it!

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5 Jessie (Vegan-minded) June 2, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Great advice about social media. I always wondered how one becomes a social media “person”. I like to know that anyone can do it! :)

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6 Ameen June 2, 2010 at 5:22 pm

wow this is great article.

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7 Mikel Richad June 2, 2010 at 5:32 pm

This is great article, i am interested in social media and friends to help me on my business. thinking to hire one too.

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8 Annabelle June 4, 2010 at 9:06 pm

I swear, these posts just keep on feeding that little voice in my head that keeps begging me to give it up and create the “pro/serious” blog I’ve been pondering for a while. Also, I love your writing style, girl. Keep it up!

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9 Lasanae June 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm

This blog has encouraged me sooo much! I am a SAHM and have been for the past 4 yrs so besides dealing with the kids all I do is Myspace (no so much anymore since FB, lol) FB, Youtube, and dable in a few other social communities. I have been wanting to go back to school and find work but couldn’t grasp what I really wanted to do. I love interacting on the web and why not get a job that entails that, I just hope I can find something entry-level or even something that would consider my at home experience worthy of a job. Do you have any suggestions about a resume or would you even consider helping spiff mine up a bit? Thanks again! Wonderful post! :)

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10 Jess June 26, 2010 at 6:05 pm

I just wanted to thank you for posting this. I took your advice and set up a blog and a twitter account and I already have someone asking me about a job interview. I’m so excited. I was in such a bad mood and feeling so hopeless about my job search. I felt like I was throwing myself at any job that was available and people could sense that. I think when you really have a passion for something, it shines through. My passion is scratch baking and decorating. Your blog is such an inspiration and has made me really start to brainstorm! Thanks again!

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11 Andrew Walsh July 31, 2010 at 9:16 pm

This is a great post and some excellent things to think about. The teacher example makes a lot of sense.

Businesses so often know they need a consultant for social media but they have no idea how it works. It’s often not that hard to dazzle them if you do your homework. Networking is really the key.

Taking on some free clients like friends and relatives is a great point: it pads the resume and gives you practical experience that will make you better when you enter the paid world.

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12 Christina March 8, 2011 at 2:51 pm

My question is….how do you measure results? A company wants to know if what your doing is actually getting them sales.

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13 Rachel March 8, 2011 at 5:47 pm

There are a lot of ways to measure results — there are a lot of tools and software that marketers and companies use now to keep track!

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