I’ve been very fortunate to have benefited a lot from my blog in the two years that it’s been established. One of the main differences it’s made to my life is the ability to have joined my marketing and brand experience with my knowledge of social media. A little over a year ago I became a social media manager at a great agency, and now manage a team delivering social campaigns and community management for some great brands. I was recruiting for a new team member recently and received a lot of CVs and applications; the standard overall was so bad I asked if a post detailing the best way to approach a CV would be useful. The result was an outstanding yes, so here are my top tips for selling yourself and getting that job you really want.
You’ve got a lot of knowledge
If you’re reading this blog then you’re aware of social media. If you have a Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest account then you understand social media. You don’t have to have a degree in a subject to have knowledge in it, so don’t sell yourself short. The amount of CVs I’ve had recently applying for a job without even a sprinkle of social media content is, quite frankly, shocking. You wouldn’t apply to be a lawyer without including some lawyer shizzle in your CV, so why on earth would you write a CV trying to enter the industry without even mentioning the words ‘social media’. If you have a blog or active social media accounts then dedicate room to explaining what you do, how you use them and how you built up a following. If you don’t have anything particularly active then at least be prepared to talk about what you love about social media and why you want to work in the industry.
Make your experience relevant
Not many people actually have experience working in social media because it’s all so new, but you do have experience that could be relevant or has taught you skills to exploit. I interviewed an extremely enthusiastic young lady last week who had absolutely zero experience in social media, but she was upfront and explained that. What she did do impeccably well though was to use her time working in a phone shop to talk about how she’s focused on building relationships, listening to customers, forging communities and using rewards – all of which for the basis of social media as we know it. Think about how what you’ve been involved in before and how it could be related to the online world.
Sell yourself properly
Imagine yourself in your potential employer’s shoes and imagine what you’d like to hear. There’s no point telling them about how ‘social media is the way forward’ and how it’s ‘something I feel like I should be part of’ because that won’t wash. Write a cracking personal statement at the start of your CV which outlines what you’re like as a person, what positive things colleagues and classmates have to say about you and what you’d bring to the workplace. Be it a passion for writing, a thirst for knowledge, the need for perfection or being great at working in a team… We all have unique things that make us more employable.
Make a good impression
Do not, under any circumstances, email a CV without either including a cover letter or a pretty darn good email to accompany it. Don’t just send an email saying ‘please find attached my CV’, or worse just email it with no text at all – it just says that you’re lazy, aren’t really interested in the job and can’t be bothered to tailor an email. Nine times out of ten, unless you’ve got a cracking CV, your application is going straight in the trash basket. Explain who you are, what you’re applying for and give a topline overview of the content in your CV – give details of what you’ve done, why you’d be good in the job and most importantly what you have to offer.
Do your research
If you want to work in the industry then ensure you know what you’re talking about. Research some well known brands, look at their Facebook pages and analyse how they use social media. Be prepared to give good and bad examples, talk about who you admire and provide commentary on recent campaigns. So many times when I’ve asked candidates to provide an example of something and they’ve talked about their mate or the most obvious thing they can think of… It’s painful. Being prepared goes a long, long, way.
Remember the purpose of a CV
It’s not just to list the jobs you’ve had (because nobody really cares you’ve worked in Pizza Hut,) but to sell yourself and your experience. If you’re a recent graduate start with the most relevant pieces of work you’ve done, projects you’ve worked on, placements or internships that you’ve undertaken; employers will be more impressed with that than the fact you’ve done a summer working in Waitrose and served up some roasts in The Queen Vic. It’s not supposed to be a list, so make it worth reading… It’s the one opportunity you have, so don’t waste it.
If you want to ask any questions then I’m more than happy to answer them in the comments below. What are your top tips or biggest fears about writing a CV or applying for a job?