The typical conversation regarding social media and employment revolves around issues such as what privacy settings to use on personal accounts, and whether or not certain posts should be kept up if they seem inappropriate. Essentially, what can a potential employer find out about you? However, with so many positions now requiring at least a basic familiarity with social media, I have been thinking about the decision people make to list social media as a skill on their resume (or not). More and more job applicants, specifically millennials, are listing Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter as skills in order to better market themselves during a job search. My question is, should this be a more intentional and purposeful choice?
The various social media platforms I use for work and in my personal life are listed on my resume, but if I didn’t work in communications, I wonder just how relevant those skills would be. An interesting argument being made is that if social media isn’t in the job description, there is no use in mentioning it on your resume. Andrew Cafourek, founder of the startup Alumni Spaces, discussed reading applications for software engineers that had listed their ability to successfully use platforms like Tumblr and Yik Yak. He says, “If we were hiring a social media intern, that’d be interesting. I’d want to know how we could use Yik Yak to promote our message, but I don’t need a developer knowing that.”
Furthermore, Mark Babbitt, founder of a recruiting firm for entry level positions, states that “there’s such a difference between being on Twitter and being active on Twitter.” As we’ve been learning in class, the ability to develop and maintain a social media strategy for a business or other cause is not as simple as some may think. When I first started in my role working with social media, I had to teach myself to create a strategy. I believe that there is often an assumption that younger generations in particular can effectively manage roles with a social media/marketing component just because that demographic has grown up with these platforms available to them. I have gained a new appreciation for social media as a skill through my job, because I now recognize how much effort goes into the constant creation of (hopefully) engaging content.
There is a place for social media on a resume. But, before listing all of those platforms, it is important to consider if those social media skills are truly skills.
“Being a daily Facebook user does not give you the insight and experience to run a full-fledged social media marketing campaign, but having a Facebook fan page with many followers might. If you are trying to position yourself as an expert on your resume, make sure you have the knowledge to back that up when you are questioned on an interview or, more importantly, when you take the job.”
In the end, as with anything else on a resume, if you can provide examples in support of how you utilized social media to achieve a specific goal, it could be the one thing that gives you an edge over other job candidates.