A recent article in the New York Times discussed the skills necessary to help you get and keep an entry level media job. And unlike Andy, Anne Hathaway’s character in The Devil Wears Prada, entry levels jobs now demand more than just answering the phone, picking up dry cleaning and running to Starbucks. Increasingly, employers want and need assistants with social media skills. Yes, the Devil tweets about Prada.
And even outside of the magazine industry, growing numbers of all kinds of companies are looking for social media managers to handle communication and promotion through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest. And some companies have stopped recruiting employees to handle social media. HR directors simply expect all new hires to have those skills. “We are seeing an increased demand for social savvy candidates across the business – from human resources to product to customer service,” noted Amy Crow in Quartz. She’s the communication director for indeed.com, the popular jobs website.
So what are the must-have social media skills? Here’s a list of things to know and do:
1. Get comfortable with the important social media platforms–Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Seriously, this is a first, basic step.
2. Learn to use social media in an effective, professional way–not just posting a picture of your dinner on Facebook or tweeting what you’re doing this second. Instead, understand how social media can be a promotional tool, how to find information and sources, how to tell stories in words and pictures.
3. Make sure your own blogs, tweets, posts and so on, reflect your strengths and talents. And, of course, be careful that you’re looking and behaving appropriately.
4. Write well. Improve your writing and avoid typos and grammatical errors, even in a 140-character tweet.
5. Take clear, interesting photos. An out of focus, boring photograph won’t attract eyeballs to pinterest or insta.
6. Learn video storytelling. If you can shoot and edit videos on a camera or phone and edit them to post on youtube or vine, you’ll be all the more marketable.
6. Manage your time well. Being a social media maniac–even an effective one–can turn into a time suck.
7. And remember what your most important assets always are: being hardworking, reliable and open to learning.