Diary of a Reflective Employer…

I was hiring recently for a social business intern. This is what I shared with the co-op faculty and student base after the fact…


Where I work, we have a rolling intern position for a smart, dynamic, activated student to help us with MarComms projects covering social business (social media metrics, channel management and maintenance, research), design (websites, infographics, branding), creative work (video editing, writing), small-scale communications project management.

The reason we turn to an intern is the hope / expectation that their ongoing experience in the social domain as a digital native can stimulate our approach to work. We want someone who can participate as a peer, while we can give them some exposure to corporate life with all its politics, discourse, planning and big-picture dynamics.

We get applications from many smart students. However, what is rare, and far too rare for my liking, is an applicant who is actively using social tools.

By actively using, I do not mean that they have a facebook account – my mum has a facebook account. Actually, she doesn’t, but you get the point.

I mean leveraging the tools – understanding how to build an audience, how to take advantage of SEO, how to participate in networked conversations, how to create interesting content through many connected but differentiated mechanisms.

Being able to write up an example from a school project is useful – but you should be doing it in your private lives too. This is where the rubber hits the road.

Wherefore art thou…?

Where is your pinterest account of interesting infographics examples that shows me who have an idea for visual storytelling?

Where is your tumblr showcasing your understanding of cultural memes? Or your blog that illustrates how to consistently narrate a topic (any topic BTW) in a stimulating, interactive way?

Where is your twitter feed of industry news and/or Glee references?

How did you increase an audience of 16-25 year olds on Facebook for a friend-of-the-family small business owner client who craves that demographic?

Where are your mash-up videos of, well, anything? Have you experimented with twitter Vine? Why not? How many followers do you have on instagram? Show me!

It’s a big ask, but it is the outcome we want

None of these channel activations should be reactive to a job application – I saw a lot of new twitter accounts set up this month. If you want to work in MarComms, you need to be literate in social media language, style, content and channel management.

But better than simple literacy is mastery.

There is no reason why a digital native cannot be a peer or teacher to an experienced industry professional in this area. It is your easiest way to stand out. There are zero barriers to entry.

So, “thank you” to those who proved to me that you understand the domain – that you are willing and excited and confident enough to give it a go under your own steam. You are the ones we want to interview.

To the others, well-meaning and gifted all, I challenge you to go out and make a difference in your community today – to practice, experiment, fail, learn, grow, research and develop your ideas and voice.

Self-actualize your career by giving me no choice other than to interview / hire you. That is what our current intern Kitty < http://www.hellokittychan.com > did – she had her portfolio, her experience, her knowledge, her proof. She made it really easy for us to choose her, and we were excited to have her join us.

That, too, is what our new intern Lillian <http://www.lillianchowz.com/> did.

“I am a social media savvy, a graphic designer and a constant learner. 

I obey one rule: work with passion.”

Yes, she is. And, yes, she does.

So, what are you waiting for to make it happen?

← This Much We Know.→

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