Q. I notice an increasing number of postings for social media jobs. I know the basics of social media, but prefer to do more general consumer PR. Should I pursue a social media position as a way to get my foot in the door? -PD
A. Landing a job in social media isn’t as easy as it was a couple of years ago when basic knowledge of the space put you in contention. And it shouldn’t be viewed as an entry-point to a traditional PR job. It’s emerging as a major communication discipline unto itself.
Employers are surprised by how few graduates are entering the job market with solid social media skills. Everyone assumes this generation is savvy in all things digital, but that’s not proving to be the case. Job postings for social media internships receive a fraction of the applications that respond to traditional and event-oriented PR positions. An executive at one Chicago firm said he received only one application in response to his social media intern posting. So many opportunities exist, but expectations also have increased.
Due to their dramatic growth, many social media firms are hiring entry-level talent. But friends at these firms tell me a majority of resumes they receive are from non-qualified candidates. Your resume needs to clearly stand out as someone who knows the space. Are you actively engaged in social media? Do you blog? How many followers do you have on Twitter? Have you attended SXSW? Simply knowing how to Tweet and update your Facebook status won’t impress recruiters at increasingly demanding social media agencies. Gain as much experience as possible through social media classes, workshops, boot camps and personal engagement.