Not long ago I wrote about the importance of creating opportunities for yourself. And this is true whether you’re seeking a job or not. And each day should include some learning to increase your value to an employer.
Periodically I get a note from someone saying that they’ve asked their new hire to read the resources here. That is humbling in itself. On Saturday someone sent me a message on Twitter saying that they had gotten a job thanks to my blog. I asked Rachel to share her story. Reading it reminded me of my goals of teaching & sharing. Getting feedback like this is incredibly motivating. Thank you Rachel for sharing your story with my readers.
I wanted to write you and tell you what role you played in me landing a community manager role. This whole thing has actually been very serendipitous…I’ll tell you whole long story and you can cut out whatever you want…
I had been unemployed for about six months. I had previously been laid off from my job in magazine publishing in Northern California and decided to move back home to Seattle. Because my basic needs were being taken care of, I felt like I could really take my time finding a job that I really liked. Print media is over and knew that I wouldn’t be finding anything in that field, especially in Seattle.
In January I went to my first blogger’s meetup (I use Tumblr and absolutely love the community there). There was a guy at the meetup in town from New York, who uses Tumblr and was tagging along. He had worked for Amazon and Etsy, and was now in the midst of his own start-up. We hit it off and exchanged contact information.
The next morning I got a call from this guy saying he was meeting with the manager of a well known Seattle retailer that he knows who wanted advice on social media marketing and things like that. He suggested that I go with him because, he thought, maybe there’s a job in it, and after all, I know about this stuff and he lives in New York, and I live here. We came up with five principles of conversational marketing to talk to them about:
- It’s a conversation.
- Be human.
- Create more value than you take.
- Grow your community.
- Always on, always active.
At the meeting, I ended up doing most of the talking. I talked to the manager about Twitter and how blogging has changed since say, 2002. We all exchanged business cards and contact information.
The next thing I knew this retailer was using Twitter and following me, including the owner of this company. I got a direct message one day from the manager saying that she had been talking me up to the owner and that he wanted to meet with me. I wasn’t exactly sure what this guy was expecting from me, if he was even looking to hire or what. They already had someone in the traditional PR role, but apparently not doing this kind of work. When I inititally met with the owner, I had just presented a few ideas on a scratch piece of paper. He had said he really liked me and my ideas and wanted to fit me in somewhere, but just didn’t know exactly where. He told me to think about it and come back next week with a solid proposal.
Most of the week was spent flipping out because I had no idea what to do. I couldn’t just walk in and say "I can do that PR job better." I called up the guy in New York and asked him for some advice, and that’s when he told me about the role of Community Manager. I had seen job postings for this type of position and thought it was an excellent idea.
I googled "community manager job description" and found the BEST information on your website. I printed off any information that seemed relevant to what I was proposing. Since this company is a retailer and not an internet startup, I knew not everything about the more corporate community manager role would apply. So I printed a lot of information from your site and a few others (but mostly yours). I highlighted the stuff I wanted to emphasize. Then I printed out some job postings I found for community manager so that the owner of this company could see that this is a "real" job that people are hiring for. Then I wrote my own outline of how all this info translates into what specifically I would do for him. And finally, I wrote a fun "about me/FAQ" section instead of including a traditional resume (he has still not seen my resume).
I put all of that information in a binder and paged through it with him at our meeting. I had no idea if this is what he was looking for, but I thought I did a pretty good job putting this together and thought if he didn’t go for it, I could shop myself around to other companies. I definitely wasn’t expecting an answer that day. I told him he could keep the binder and think about things, have another meeting, etc…
But after he paged through it, he said he loved it, that he needs this, that he didn’t want to lose me, and asked me how much money I want. I was hired on the spot and I start in about a week.
So, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for being such a great resource! If I can do this (in the midst of a recession), I’m sure it’s possible for others as well.
Cheers from a gainfully employed person,
I hope that provides you with ideas if you’re job hunting & inspires you to be creative. What if you took your knowledge & skills & went cold calling? Sell yourself to an organization that needs your skills. And if they don’t know it yet, then explain to them why they do! What do you have to lose?
Rachel said that she always like new friends, so connect with her on Twitter. (Welcome our newest comm mgr!)