My job hunt has taken an unexpected turn. A good one.
Though I’ve applied mostly for journalism positions, plus a few other writing-heavy jobs, something different keeps falling into my lap: social media gigs.
I resisted it at first. I see “social media consulting” and immediately think snake-oil salesman. I mean, who really needs someone to help their company with social media? Everyone knows how to do this stuff!
But everyone, apparently, doesn’t. Look at the job boards, and you’ll see tons of social-media positions. (Mashable Jobs is my favorite social-media-heavy board.) Lots of companies that want to expand their client base through social media don’t have the know-how or the time to do it.
These positions keep finding me. Here’s one example: I applied for a writing/editing position with an international organization. The woman in charge of hiring wrote me an e-mail saying that yes, I looked qualified for the Web-writing position, but what they’d really noticed on my resume was my social media skills. Would I be interested in a job along those lines?
Now, social media is on my resume, but I hadn’t exactly highlighted it. Mostly because I didn’t realize how much I could leverage my experience in this field. Yeah, blogging and building online communities and using all sorts of social networks is part of my daily life. I use those tools because they help me accomplish what I need. I ran the @freeroxana Twitter campaign because I thought it was an important cause. I created a Ning group for writers of travel memoir because I saw a gap in the writing community. I figured out the ins-and-outs of using social media for networking because it helped me with my job hunt. I put that experience on my resume because I thought it made me more marketable all-around, not because I expected an employer to hire me specifically for those skills.
But small businesses and organizations are offering to pay me to build online communities. C’mon. How can I say no to that? I’m excited to help them!
On top of that, it seems that all the press releases I threw into my trash as a journalist are now coming in handy. For small businesses looking to build online communities with the end goal of finding new clients, it turns out I have something else to offer: I can write a damn good press release, and I’m smart about figuring out who to send it to. I’m an affordable one-woman social-media-slash-media-relations band! Who would’ve thought?
So I’ve started taking on clients. And thanks to this bridge-builder we call the Internet, they can be in the next town over or across the country. I’m not jumping off the job search train just yet, but this might have the potential to turn into a full-blown business.
If you know a small company or organization who wants to extend their reach and needs help doing it, you know where to send ’em.
If you’re in the social media biz too, I’d love to hear from you.