Get Going Early
Why the ‘Magic of Social Connectivity’ is better early in the game
By Fluent, PR Social Media Manager, Vee Weir
I grew up in the days of AOL dial-up and Myspace profile html code. Top 8 friends and personalized music players ruled my middle school life. I would spend hours online – in AIM, or in forums talking about everything from school and sports, to celebrities and music.
At the age of 12, I distinctly remember being allowed to create a Facebook. This was shortly after they opened the platform to those outside of university campuses. After begging and pleading with my parents, I was deemed old enough to be responsible for my online life. I spent all night crafting the right wording, describing who I was and what I was all about. This was the virtual extension of Vee Weir.
I realized in those moments, that I could transcend my nerdy, North Carolinian life. I could meet different people across the world, speak my truth, and never feel ashamed for who I was.
Those are the years I fell in love with social media. Since then, I have spent 14 years cultivating my social media creation, curation, and management skills to be what they are today: A professional career in digital marketing.
I realize that not everyone is as lucky as I am. Not everyone figures out what they want to do at the age of 12. However; if you’re in college and you’re wondering how to break in to this saturated market, I have some tips and tricks for you that you may not have heard before:
If you’re between the ages of 17 – 24, you have seen job postings seeking candidates with 5-10 years of experience for entry level positions. I used to laugh at these postings, until I realized that I actually had that experience they wanted. By volunteering and interning before you’re a Senior in college, you can rack up skills in marketing and public relations that set you apart from your peers. You already know that the job market can be a bust for graduates, no matter from what school they graduated. Make sure that you arm yourself with all that you can in the way of experience and recommendations.
Organizations are looking for people just like you – young, passionate, and ready to take on the challenges of the world. Older nonprofits are struggling in the way of digital marketing. Check out local job fairs, or college club opportunities that align with your interests and values. This is a great way to meet people in your age group, professionals in your desired industry, and learn a few skills you didn’t have before.
The two internships I had are the reason I was able to get a job straight out of college. Internships are a chance to get an inside look at a career that you may want to pursue. It’s a chance to try out the job before you commit to it. The most valuable internships pay you, or give you college credit, and take you by the hand to show you the ropes of their business/organization. At the end of the day, you’ve gained valuable experience and have a real world recommendation to put at the top of your resume.
Look for Guidance
Is there someone whom you look up to in your industry? Is that person accessible on social media? If you answered yes to those questions, why not reach out? If there’s one thing I can say without a doubt at this stage in my career, it’s that people WANT to help other people – especially those that are just getting their foot in the door. Finding a real-world person to guide you through your career, and “prune” you for the industry fit, is possibly the best advice I can give. If it’s not a person, find a company you want to align yourself with and reach out to see if you can shadow them. This shows that you’re dedicated and serious about your future.
In this day and age, you and your brand are a product to be reviewed. That’s why, no matter what I have done for a person and/or company, big or small, I ask for a LinkedIn recommendation. The power of people’s’ words is insurmountable in the small business world. As you move forward in your career, you’ll realize it’s a small world, and people trust others. Just like you probably wouldn’t purchase something online without checking the reviews first, neither will recruiters.
Social media and connectivity run our personal AND professional lives. Companies can no longer ignore the role that social media plays in marketing their products and hiring the best people. That means, you can’t ignore the importance of it either.
I hope with these tips and tricks you can take advantage of the still booming digital marketing and public relations industry.