As a past internship coordinator for my company, I’ve seen my fair share of resumes. Some are good, some are bad, but they all have one thing in common – each resume lists social media as a skill.
And it should. As Ethan Parry mentioned in his recent Social Media Club blog post, social media is an integral part of the millennial generation.
It is not enough to simply list social media as a skill. Nor it is enough to have a Facebook account. As a millennial, companies expect that social media is something that you live and breathe, and can successfully do in your sleep.
So how, in a sea full of intern applicants all with a similar social media skill set, can you set yourself apart? This is a question I receive every time I do an informational interview, and there are three key things I always list as social media differentiators between internship applicants:
1. Have a Well-Rounded Presence
Social media is more than just Facebook.
From Twitter and LinkedIn to Intstagram and Pinterest, it seems as if a new social network arrives every week. In PR, you need to know what it means to have a presence on all channels, but my company will typically look for an intern presence on the big three – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
If you don’t have a working knowledge of those channels and aren’t successfully selling your own abilities there, how can we trust you to manage social media on a client’s behalf?
More often than not, a client’s end goal in using social media is to increase eyes on the product, brand, or service. This will not happen without actively engaging with audiences on each of the chosen social networks. It’s understandable that an intern might not have experience doing social media professionally (and it’s certainly not expected), but that doesn’t give you a free pass.
Use your personal channels to demonstrate your knowledge of various engagement methods for each social channel. This will go a long way during an internship review process.
3. Create Content
So much of public relations involves writing – even social media requires thoughtfully crafted posts to convey a specific message – but I don’t think that interns spend enough time practicing this skill outside of the classroom.
Blogging can help. Not only is it a great way to showcase your writing abilities (which we PR folk love to see), it also provides ideal content to promote via your own social channels.
Showing that you can not only write coherently, but that you also know how to publicize that writing, is a huge plus for any potential employer.
Being experienced with social media won’t guarantee you an internship (that’s where your interview skills and work experience come in), but it will certainly give you a way to stand out from the competition.
And remember: once you’ve secured an internship, don’t give up on your own social media efforts. Social media will always be changing and evolving, and the only way for you to stay with the times is to always practice, practice, practice.
Rachael Genson is an Account Executive at INK Public Relations in Austin, Texas. Tweet her at @rmgenson.