[Guest Post] Getting a Job in Social Media: 10 Things You Need to Know For Your First Interview

Interested in starting a career in social media? You’ve come to the right place! Check out this guest post from our friends at Viralheat.

So you landed an interview for a job in social media? That’s great! Congratulations on taking the first step towards a new, exciting, and promising job filled with benefits and normal hours (hopefully). You will be neck deep in Internet trends, reading and writing till the day is done, creating compelling content, and building your companies corporate image. Huzzah! But, before you start uncorking the champagne (you drunkard), here are some things to consider before walking into the interview.

    1. Don’t Get Ahead Of Yourself.You don’t have the job until you sign the papers. That being said, remember to focus on the interview. Don’t think about what you need to do once you get the job – you don’t have it yet. Put your efforts into giving a good, memorable interview that shows why they absolutely need to hire you.Also, don’t stop looking for other jobs! Avoid putting all your eggs in one basket because it’s better to have many options to choose from if this one doesn’t work out.


    1. Play Nice.You’re interviewing for a job in social media… a professional job in social media. So before you go in for the talk, make sure that all of your social presences are clean. That means no offensive tweets, no inflammatory posts, and lay off the swearing. Do you have any posts that have misspelled or grammatically incorrect language? Destroy them.A job in social often requires you to promote from your personal accounts so it’s best to have a public profile. But if the thought of your accounts being public make you squirm, consider making a professional account.
    2. Look Good.I’m sure you look great all the time. But when it comes to interviews, it pays to dress to impress. No t-shirts with cartoons on them! Dress codes change depending on where you are interviewing, but err on the side of caution. Whether it’s a small, up-and-coming start-up full of employees in jeans and T-shirts, or a corporate, suit-and-tie conglomerate with reach across the globe, your taste in clothing will never be (initially) questioned if you’re dressed nicely. Ladies, make sure your hair is smooth and your makeup minimal. And for the fellas, don’t forget to clean up that 5 o’clock shadow.


    1. Be Qualified.Many times you may not be a 100% perfect fit for a job, but don’t worry – that’s not always a deal breaker. As a newcomer to this industry, you’re expected to learn and grow with your role. But you do need to be knowledgeable in the space and about the company and its mission and objectives. Take time to study the list of requirements/preferred qualifications. Review which skills you do and do not possess, be prepared to talk about how you will be an asset to the company. If the job requires an understanding of a certain program you don’t know, (in social media that probably means a third-party app like Hootsuite or Viralheat) start a free trial version and practice. You never know what they’ll ask you about your skill set so it’s best to be prepared.
    2. Have Samples.A job in social media requires a mix of skills. The ideal candidate is a great writer, creative thinker, and amazing multi-tasker. Most employers will ask for samples of creative work that you have done to get an idea of your style and to gauge if you’re a good fit for the role. Examples can range from blog posts and social platforms you have managed, to audio and video products. Having quality examples of your work is crucial to showing that you’re the right one for the job.
    3. Know The Business.Do your research! It’s always good to know what the business you’re interviewing with ACTUALLY does. Look past the jargon. Don’t just memorize a tag line – dig a little deeper and try to really understand what the company’s mission and objective is. Take a look at their website and their social presences to get a feel for the company. If they sell a consumer product, try to find it in a store. Show them that you know what the business does so you can speak on how you will contribute as a member of the team.


    1. Be Confident.It’s okay to feel nervous, but remember that the interviewer is just a person on the other side of a desk. He or she is looking for someone that is both qualified AND someone that they can tolerate on a day-to-day basis. So show some personality and don’t be afraid. Remember this is a job in social media – so they’ll only like you more if you’re engaging and friendly.


    1. Draw From Your Experiences.Because you don’t have a huge corporate resume with fancy numbers and data, you will have to give a lot of anecdotal evidence about why you’re a good fit. So have some good stories ready when they ask you questions. There are a few questions that you can expect to hear at a first interview: ‘tell me a time when you showed leadership at your job,’ ‘tell me a particularly hard problem and how you went about solving it’ or ‘tell me about a time you went above and beyond the call of duty for someone’. Be honest and use examples that can be applicable to a potential situation in the role you’re applying for.


    1. Don’t BS.Seriously. Interviewers can smell BS. Although this isn’t a hard and fast rule and some topics can be glossed over, I suggest being prepared. If you don’t have an answer, say you need to think it over and get back to them.They may ask cliché, vague questions like, ‘what’s your greatest weakness?’ Don’t say things like ‘I am a perfectionist’ or ‘sometimes I care too much.’ Interviewers have heard it too many times before. Be honest, but not too honest. You don’t want to say ‘I struggle with working in the morning.’ Try to spin your answers to be positive without sounding silly. Try ‘I take too much time trying to get something right’ or ‘I pay too much attention to detail when I should seek further guidance.’ Honest answers are respected more than obviously fabricated replies.


  1. Have Questions Ready.At the end of the interview, they’ll run out of talking points and ask if you have any questions. This is a good place to show initiative and interest in the company. Ask questions about the job and company culture. What responsibilities will you be in charge of on a day-to-day basis? Will you be working with a team? Will you have to learn any special skills or programs? What does he or she like most about the company? What has he or she learned while at this company? Questions show interest, and you definitely want to show them you’re interested.With these tips you can walk into that interview feeling ready. Ultimately, remember that you’re awesome. You can do it!This guest post was written by Jeff Anaya. Jeff is part of the marketing team with Viralheat, the social media marketing suite for business. When he’s not talking, writing, or researching about the growing world of social media marketing, you can find him quoting movies from the 90s, podcasting at a pirate radio station in San Francisco’s Mission District, or planning a road trip. You can tweet him at @jeffanaya, add him to your Google+ circle, or email him at [email protected].


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