I wasn’t looking to change my life when my friend from high school messaged me on Facebook, telling me I needed to call her right away because she really needed to talk to me.
We hadn’t spoken more than 10 minutes at the health club since we graduated from High School almost twenty years prior, and I wondered what she wanted. I debated calling her back vs ignoring the message. I was happily leading a community of home based business owners sharing the challenges and celebrations of growing a business online and I’d been pitched to one-to-many times by friends online thinking I needed a “new opportunity.”
Be Open to Serendipity
This was an opportunity, but not the type I thought it was.
When my friend said she’d seen a marketing director position I’d be perfect for, working for a really awesome local company, I swear I heard the screeching sound of breaking tires. The online business I’d started approximately 10 months earlier was growing rapidly thanks to lots of time studying marketing and sweat equity putting it to work. I wasn’t looking for a job. I was an entrepreneur, building my own “empire” online.
But life has a way of being serendipitous, doesn’t it?
The night before I called her my husband shared with me he was worried because the owners of the place he was managing were threatening to close the doors anytime soon. I was making a decent income from home, spreading my time between building my own home-based business, growing my blog, and being a virtual assistant. But I didn’t have benefits and I wasn’t at a point of being able to replace my husband’s income.
So I listened to her.
Show, Don’t Tell, Them What You’ve Got to Offer!
After days of debating the pros and cons of getting a job and studying the company’s marketing I could see through their social media, I somehow pulled together a resume of my various entrepreneurial escapades over the previous 13 years. I had tried everything under the sun, aside from selling drugs or becoming a hooker, to scrounge up enough extra money each month to stay home with our kids.
Feeling totally inadequate, I submitted my resume online with a cover letter and a several paged, rather abrupt, outline pointing out dozens of things I’d do differently with their social media marketing if I got the position. I figured that was that. No one was getting hired, the news was buzzing with unemployment statistics, and I didn’t think I stood a chance. Not to mention I was happy working from home.
Serendipity strikes again: I got a call back that same day from the HR Manger asking me to set up a phone interview. I remember being dumbfounded when I hung up the phone. I interviewed and didn’t get the job for the marketing director position I had applied for, but she said they had something else in mind that may open up in a few months. I took that as her nice way of letting me down easy and continued to build my business.
A couple of weeks later on a Monday morning, HR Manager called me back. I interviewed the next day, Tuesday, they offered me the job on Wednesday, and I started on Thursday.
Start Laying the Groundwork Now
After being there for a few weeks, I asked the HR Manager what set me apart from the other applicants. She mentioned that they were very impressed with my online presence. I had built a twitter following of around 4,000, an email list of approximately the same amount, and a thriving community on my blog and Facebook. I initially got their attention with my resume, outline, and cover letter, showing them the social media marketing ideas I had for them.
I was so surprised, since I thought of myself as just a mom building her business online, that I could impress a big brand with my marketing. I was even more amazed when I thought of where I was one short year prior. It’s proof that building an online presence doesn’t have to take forever. Steady blogging and engagement in social has a way of growing naturally and compounding like interest! You just need to something you’re passionate about and to stay focused.
I’ve since learned how valuable internships in Social Media can be as well. I’ve hired three socia media interns since this summer to help me in my job. Two of them are being considered for positions at this moment. A few months working in social media for a big brand should give you many of the basic skills you’ll need to get a job. And with the demand for people with strong skills in social media in today’s market, the time you invest in an internship, even if it means low pay or unpaid experience, can pay off big-time down the road.
Embrace A Different Way of Looking at Success
I never thought I’d be happy working for someone else. But I looked at the position as an opportunity to play a bigger game, learning on a brand level the ins and outs of social media marketing. It did give us a second (steady) income and security in case something ever happens to my husband’s job. Plus I’ve had many opportunities to attend blogging conferences I most likely would not have attended if I were on my own, expanding both my network and my knowledge.
If you’re wanting a career in social media, I encourage you to build your personal brand now. Be a living breathing example of successful marketing online, even if (especially since) it’s only for yourself. I promise having to make the decision to stay on the path of entrepreneurship or accept a dream job working for a dream company, is a good dilemma to have! Neither choice could be wrong!