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How to Become a Rockstar Social Media Professional

social media
Nathan Parcells
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Published on May 7, 2013

Could Greek storytelling classes be more important for your social media future than a marketing or communication class?  Why do some companies want you to apply using Twitter while others require a full application online?  What does the future of social media look like and what tools should you be learning to be ahead of the curve?  What’s a KPI and why is data science an important part of social media marketing?

Last week, hiring managers and thought leaders from Olgivy + Mather (and InterviewingU), Google+, Nestlé Purina, and ClippPR spent over an hour dissecting the future of the social media industry and how you as a student can break into it.  The result was one of the most in-depth videos ever on the subject and a must watch panel for any students interested in social media.

If you have any more questions about the topic, please leave them in the comments below and we will forward them on to our speakers and get back to you asap.  Now, without further ado, please enjoy our panel below on “How to Become a Rockstar Social Media Professional!”

Questions we didn’t get a chance to answer:

If you want a role that asks for 2 years of experience but you don’t have it (but you have 1 to 1.5 yrs), should you still apply?

Amanda Pirtle, Nestlé:  I think this depends on the type of company you are applying to. For example, a large corporate company, like Purina, sticks very close to the minimum qualifications listed on the job description. If you do not have two years of experience, you will not be passed to the next phase of our resume review process. However, many smaller or startup companies may look over that you don’t meet the minimum qualifications exactly and take into consideration the type of projects you’ve worked on or the amount of school/type of courses you’ve taken. It is really important to consider the type of company you are pursuing before applying to determine how strict they will be on the minimum qualifications listed.

Nathan Parcells, InternMatch:  I agree with Amanda’s response above, although would add that the vast majority of SMBs and even medium sized businesses have some flexibility when it comes to these requirements, especially if you do have some experience that you can back up as being valuable.  These companies certainly do not want to hear from someone with no experience, but many will set a high initial bar to express their desired candidate, but remain open to someone who has close to the required skills and can adequately show in their resume, cover, letter and application why they are still the best fit or why other skills more than make up for the gaps they are lacking in the requirements.

I’ve drafted social media plans before but since I don’t currently work in a company with a social media role, I have not been able to execute them. What’s the best way for me to get someone to review them?

Amanda Pirtle, Nestlé:  I would recommend trying to make a connection with someone who has some experience in a social media role and work on developing a mentorship type relationship with them. Having a career mentor is a very important part of growing in your field. They can help you understand things within the field and in the business world that the classroom can’t. One way to go about that is to talk with your professors to see if they have any connections, go through any groups you are involved in at school or even look at your parents friends to see if any of them could provide any insight. You could also use LinkedIn to try to find someone in your local area that could help. Once you identify a potential mentor, you can set up informational interviews with those people to learn more about them and their roles. Building connections is a very important part of building your career.

Nathan Parcells, InternMatch:  I again agree with Amanda on this question.  One of the keys to building strong mentors is showing a deep interest in a field that they are currently a professional in.  Crafting a marketing plan and walking through it with them is an ideal way to spend a mentorship meeting and build a relationship   Family and friends are great people to check with to see if they know any social media professionals.  If not, you can talk to your marketing professors and TAs who typically have some industry experience/connections and can help make introductions.  Lastly, cold emailing can also work in particular if you email professionals who you are already following on Twitter and who you are truly interested in speaking with.

Any advice for students who want to start their own social media company?

Nathan Parcells, InternMatch:  Having started a company, albeit not a social media company, I commend you on the initiative!  Starting a company takes tremendous effort and work but the rewards in terms of personal growth and potential return are worth it.  The most important first step here is to build real relationships with mentors in the space.  Don’t build these relationships by pitching them on your idea, but instead mention that you are interested in the space and look to learn as much as possible about the process of starting, running, growing and succeeding in the field.  That’s the best advice I can give on what is ultimate a very large question!

Nathan Parcells

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