Panelists stress importance of social media skills

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Katie Stone, social media strategist at 360training.com, gives career advice to students at a career info-session, which the Vick Center for Strategic Advising & Career Counseling hosted Tuesday evening, about social media.
Photo Credit: Jack DuFon | Daily Texan Staff

Transferable skills — skills people learn in one place and can apply to another position — are vital when looking for a job in social media, according to a panel of graduates working in the field.

A group of panelists spoke about the importance of social media in the job hunt at a career info-session, which the Vick Center for Strategic Advising & Career Counseling hosted Tuesday.

Knowing how to use a variety of platforms and understanding website analytics are important parts of many entry-level jobs after graduation, the panelists said. 

Megan Jackson, social media strategist at 360training.com, an online learning company, said having internship experience and gaining transferable skills while still in school are the biggest things she has learned looking back on her career.

“Social media skills are something that you can definitely use — [even] if you don’t necessarily want to go strictly into a social media sphere, you can definitely use it in other regards,” Jackson said.

Katie Stone, marketing associate at CATCH Global Foundation, a children’s health care charity, said she suggests candidates teach themselves transferable skills before they need to start looking for a job because it makes candidates more marketable.

“Something that … I [wish I had] studied more, is graphic design and basic HTML,” Stone said. “Those are things that I’ve really valued teaching myself and continuing learning about.”

Stone said working for small nonprofits helped her discover her love for marketing and fundraising, and the excitement of developing the voice of an organization through social media.

“Something that I found really great about working for small nonprofits is they are chronically understaffed, which can be stressful, but it can also mean you get to do everything,” Stone said.

Andy Moore, community management lead at Main Street Hub, an online marketing company, said showing candidates can be successful in creating a brand and engaging followers via social media is what separates potential job candidates.

“I think a common misconception amongst people looking for jobs in social media is that they come into the interview and say, ‘I have Facebook; I know Facebook. I’ve been on Twitter, so I know it, I know how to do it.’” Moore said. “But do you know the ends and outs of it? Do you know how to create your own type of brand or how to have a purpose on any of these sites?”