October 23, 2009

Turning your time on Facebook into a marketable skill

Do you spend hours on Facebook or YouTube?

Ever wonder if your proficiency in all things Myspace and Twitter can be listed as a skill on your resume?

Well, given the recent media attention paid to the role of and heightened demand for social media experts - check out articles that appeared on Workopolis and in the Toronto Star - now is an ideal time to start listing your social media skills on your resume.

After all, as the Toronto Star article mentions, social media is one domain where teenagers and those in their 20s definitely have an edge and can walk into any company or organization and call themselves an 'expert'.

As such, I definitely recommend incorporating social media skills in your cover letter or under the skills/highlights section of your resume - provided it relates to the duties of the job you are applying for.

And frankly, with the number of companies and organizations that fail to correctly use and capitalize on social media opportunities, you are in an ideal position to highlight your ability to use such technologies (e.g. a Facebook fan page or tweets on Twitter) - and by doing so, you could find yourself at the top of the candidate list!

Now, as I mentioned above, you can either list these skills on your cover letter (in the skills paragraph) or on your resume under the skills/highlight portion (if you are using a functional and/or combination resume).

The only thing I caution against is using cliches, jargon, and slang that will make you just look like another kid - what you want to do is position yourself as an expert that can help an organization use these tools more effectively.

That means you should avoid saying things like "Proud Facebook user since 2005" or "Noted for having multiple, ever-changing Myspace layouts"

Instead, opt for simple, easy to understand, and professional-sounding phrases.

So, as an example, here are some phrases you could use - and feel free to modify them to fit within the overall style and direction of your resume.

- Proficient in using online technologies, including social networking websites, to market and position new products

- Experienced in managing content hosted on social media platforms

- Demonstrated ability to use social media software to provide additional forms of customer interaction

- In depth knowledge of how to successfully use Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Youtube, and other social networking websites to create networks of customers

Notice how each of the phrases sounds professional but highlights a particular element of in-demand social media skills?

That's the key - mentioning that you have the skills and relating them to more general job duties.

Also, consider that you can also use broader terms as opposed to particular social media platforms to avoid being pigeonholed.

So for example, rather than saying "Proficient in using Facebook", you would be better off saying something along the lines of "Proficient in using social media platforms that encourage the creation and maintenance of personal profiles that house a range of textual and audio-visual content".

And one last thing - remember that if you chose to highlight these skills, you have to ensure that you've got a professional
online brand that you've developed and managed properly.

After all, if you list these skills, hiring managers are likely to search your name in Google to see what your social media presence is and if you really can back up the skills you say you have on your resume.

In a way, it's almost like a double-edged sword. But if you've got a
well-developed online brand, then you won't have anything to worry about ...

Except what you'll wear on your first day as the organization's new social media expert!

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