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How To Get Social Media Experience While In School

In my last two posts here, I drew from experiences I had as a guest speaker to journalism, mass media and public relations classes at Central Michigan University.

This post will touch again on those experiences, but will look at a common question I was asked by students in many of the classes I spoke to.

In every class I spoke to, there was one student who always asked the same question: How can I get a job in social media?

Many of these students are stuck in an awkward position when it comes to entering the work force and looking for jobs in communications, public relations and mass media.

Many universities haven’t fully caught up with how to implement social media marketing best practices into their curriculum, so they will graduate this year and next year without any real institutional knowledge about how the platforms work in a business environment.

But they’re also in an excellent position to get real-world experience working at their own pace. They can build portfolio pieces that show their experience working with businesses on their social media presences. That’s a conversation changer from a student referring to their personal social media profiles as proof of their knowledge of the platforms.

I told students that they should think about their hometowns.

Odds are good that there are small businesses who would love to have your expertise on board to help them build their social media presence. While the students aren’t pros, they are likely to have years of experience as users of various social media platforms. They’re also communications/public relations/media students in a college setting.

Think about a few businesses that you could approach about advising them on their social media presence. While getting paid to do it is nice, at this stage, in lieu of a paycheck, suggest a barter or discount in the store.

They won’t get money, but they’ll still get something in return. And they’ll have a portfolio piece for when they go on internship and job interviews that they didn’t have before then.

Image credit: andjohan/Flickr

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