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What Companies Look for When Hiring a Social Media Intern

Thu, Aug 30, 2012

Internship Information

If you’re interested in a career in advertising, marketing or social media, one great way to insure that your resume stands out from the pack is landing a social media internship during college. The world of social media is constantly evolving as new websites emerge and old sites fall out of favor, and securing some real-world experience will show your future employer that you are dedicated to understanding and taking advantage of these trends. Securing a social media internship at a reputable company is no small task, however. The competition is stiff, and you must create a resume that presents your skills as a great fit, while also nailing the interview. Regardless of the size of the company or its particular industry, here are some of the things the hiring manager will be looking for when interviewing potential social media interns.

Probably more important than anything else is a candidate who has well-developed communication skills. Social media is built around personal interaction, and the successful intern will be able to turn the company’s brand or messaging into a communication that feels organic and unforced. You’ll need to bring that skill to bear not only online, but in the workplace as well, to stay on the same page with your boss and your coworkers. Expect the hiring manager to want to review some of your previous social media posts, and make sure your samples show clear, adept communication skills.

A successful social media intern is also expected to be a strong writer. Verbal communication is one thing, but translating that into concise, engaging written content is entirely different. The dominance of Twitter means you’ll have to structure your communications in 140 characters or less, and on most of the other social media sites brevity is key. Make sure that your writing isn’t only grammatically correct and engaging, but also reveals you as a writer with a voice and an approachable, enjoyable tone.

Of course, none of this will matter if you aren’t an inherently social being. You can’t hide out in the world of social media; your personality and ability to make friends and influence people will be front and center. Most hiring managers will expect you to already have a thriving community in your personal social media circles, and to be able to leverage those connections in service of their business. If you can also integrate well with your potential coworkers and prove that you’re someone people enjoy being around, you’ll be in great shape.

Finally, make sure you bring a great deal of enthusiasm to the entire hiring process. Even though most social media internships are unpaid, they’re going to expect you to act like this job is the most important thing in your life. Make sure you are constantly learning about changes in the social media space, so the hiring manager experiences you as a problem solver, not just a button pusher. And that continuous drive to expand your base of information should come from a real love of the subject, as opposed to an obligation. Otherwise, you might not have the stamina to keep up with a job at 522 Productions or YouTube.

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