Your Advice for Future Marketing & Communications Professionals

by Ken Mueller on January 30, 2012 · 46 comments

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For the second year in a row, I’ll be teaching a Social Media Marketing class to a group of students at Messiah College. I was invited to create and teach the class last Spring and really enjoyed the experience. Tomorrow nights (1/31) I’ll be teaching this same class for the second time around.

Much of the structure of the class will be the same, but since I have a semester under my belt, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work. I’ve shifted some things around, including the required books and readings, and I think this time around it will be an even better class. I love that I’m able to work with a group of folks who are digital natives – people who have grown up using social networks.

My class is made up of 20 students, most of whom are majoring in business or marketing, as well as a few from communications and other disciplines. Most are juniors and seniors.

One of the cool things about this class is that a lot has happened in the past year. New platforms have come on to the scene, while some have disappeared. Not only has social media matured a bit, we also have a better understanding of what it is and how it works. I know that my own philosophy and understanding has evolved quite a bit, as has my business model here at Inkling Media.

My goal is not just to teach them about the tools, but help them develop the proper mindset. I want them to take the proper culture with them, no matter where they work, as they seek to bring a human element to business.

So here’s where you come in. A majority of these students are in their final semester of college. In May they will graduate (alongside my daughter who is also a senior at Messiah!) and then out into the “real world”, whatever that is. Some will go on to entry level jobs in their chosen field. Some might even have a job where social media is a major part of their job description. Others will struggle with finding a job, or might go on to grad school, or even start their own business.

I want you to use the comment section below to offer your advice to both me and my students. What do you think they need to learn and understand? How should they be preparing for careers in a world where social media has become an important part of business? What are the obstacles you believe they will face as they seek to put into practice what they learn in this class? And how should they handle those obstacles?

Also, these students have a list of recommended and required blogs that they’ll be reading. What blogs do you feel are most important?

Let me know what you think, as I seek to better prepare these students for a variety of jobs in a digital world.

 Your Advice for Future Marketing & Communications Professionals
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45 comments
RMSorg
RMSorg

@kmueller62 Awesome post Ken.. Like always, I also enjoyed the comments :)

Shonali
Shonali

Success doesn't come overnight. You have to work for it.

Everyone's definition of success is different. Find out what yours is, and work towards that, not someone else's.

No one knows everything. So once you accept this, you'll be much better off and engaging in "real" learning.

To piggyback off what @TheJackB said in his #1, think three times before you speak.

Social media is wonderful, but it really comes into its own when you use it to connect with people in the "real world." So don't get stuck in an online bubble.

Once you get involved in social media, remember that you're not a "rock star" unless the cashier at your grocery store asks for your autograph.

There is much to be learned outside the classroom. Social can give you wonderful resources, so educate yourself as much as you can (and no, it never stops).

Don't use smiley faces in cover letters.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

Always, always connect online with the companies you're interested in working for, in order to learn more about them, their culture, and their approach to customers via the web.

Don't be afraid to ask questions. And lots of them. If people are annoyed by your questions, you're in the wrong place. If they promote you because of your curiosity, you're in the right place. When you interview, ask questions. Lots of them.

Find yourself a mentor outside of the place that you work, but within the industry.

Get involved in the industry organizations. Volunteer, join a committee, and eventually serve on the board.

Be patient. Everyone has to start somewhere...and it's usually at the bottom.

And I think @Danny Brown is grumpy because he drank wine last night. Not beer. #confused

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Take all you learn, and place it on standby for when you need it. Because things change very quickly, and you need to be able to act on your feet when everything's falling around you. Your lessons will help you, but you need to make sure you plan for anything.

Also, never ever take something at face value. Question it, make others think about what they're saying, and look to challenge the status quo when the time calls for it. Silence never won battles.

Damn, I sound grumpy this morning. Must be Chicago beer... ;-)

KDillabough
KDillabough

Be full of wonder. Ask "What if..."

Listen. We were given two ears and one mouth to listen twice as much as we speak.

Beware the "expert" from fifty miles away who carries a briefcase and has "the answer". There are many possible answers to any one question.

Believe in yourself.

Exude joy. It's contagious.

Set SMART goals, and take action every day toward their achievement.

Dream possible dreams.

Be kind. Be respectful. Never judge. Keep an open mind. Smile.

Marijean
Marijean

The advice I have always offered students is this: Stay in touch. . . with the teacher, with fellow students, with co-workers and bosses, mentors and friends. You never know what opportunities you might be able to provide for others and what opportunities may come to you by the richness that comes from a well maintained network of connections.

TheJackB
TheJackB

1) Listen more than you speak.

2) Get ready for office politics. You are better off not being a part of them.

3) This is tied into office politics: Some people may get away with doing no work or very shoddy work. The office place isn't fair and it is not your job to try and change it.

4) Earn your place in the office.

5) Find a mentor.

6) Don't talk about your office online. Not on Twitter, FB, Blogs etc.

TomBLogue
TomBLogue

Little bit of tough love here:

1) You've likely been coddled in college. Don't expect that to continue. Your bosses won't be jerks, but they will be bosses.

2) It's not always going to be fun. If it were, you wouldn't be getting a paycheck.

3) Get there early. Don't always expect to leave on time.

4) You can't get out of a full day's work by claiming you "work smarter." No, you don't.

5) Sometimes you'll need to find your own motivation.

6) You bring a fresh new perspective to what you're doing. That will (hopefully) be welcomed. As Erin F states above, don't be content with the status quo. At the same time, remember to show the status quo a little respect. Not everything needs to be changed, and it became status quo for a reason.

7) You will have to prove yourself. This is the real world, where mistakes cost money and client relationships are precious. Don't be frustrated if you're not handed the keys to the kingdom overnight. Give it time, prove yourself, and you'll be rewarded.

8) Loyalty is a two-way street. Want your employer to invest in you? Show that you're dedicated to them. We don't have an incentive to dedicate training resources to someone who will be out the door in a year.

9) If you make a mistake, own up to it -- quickly and completely. Seek advice in making it right, don't try to fix everything yourself.

10) Double-check your work.

Good luck out there! There are tremendous opportunities waiting for you if you are willing to work for them.

JustInTheSouth
JustInTheSouth

Great thoughts @KenMueller

1. Give yourself the grace to fail

2. Remember Google/Apple/Facebook were build because someone saw a need and had a dream

3. Become a collector of world class questions

4. Don't get caught in the trap of doing what the experts tell you is the correct way. Venture out try and test things on your own.

5. STOP Reading. No, really. At some point it is time to put down the books and start doing some of the stuff you have learned. If you only read and never do, you just become obese on knowledge.

6. If you post it on the internet (yes Facebook) it is admissible

7. You hold the keys to your future, let success and failure move you to the place that only you can say "I'm now a success!"

Erin F.
Erin F.

1. Be a lifelong learner.

2. Work hard.

3. Keep an eye on the trends and learn to distinguish between "trendy" and an actual trend.

4. Don't be content with the status quo. Look for ways to improve things.

5. Accept failure. Learn from the failures and move toward the next thing.

hanelly
hanelly

1. Don't confuse "privacy" with "hidden temporarily"

2. If you enter this field, get ready to live a transparent life. You'll be a profersonal (professional + personal) in everything you do.

3. Read everything you can, test anything you can on a content playground of your own

4. Use Google Reader and get in the habit of reading these sites every morning:

- CMO.com

- MediaGazer.com

- TechMeme.com

- PSFK.com

- AdAge.com

- Emarketer.com

5. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. But also know that what you put out there can be out there forever.

DanielleGross
DanielleGross

1. don't wear something to the office that you'd wear clubbing

2. don't display a picture at the office of yourself in a bathing suit

3. showing up on time is important

4. don't badmouth your employer/coworkers/job around town.

And yes, all of these are things I've had to tell interns...

@Quartz164
@Quartz164

Your bachelor degree is a certificate that tells your future employers you're teachable. It doesn't earn you the right to anything. Your education isn't done, it's just getting started. Be eager to learn and listen. Work hard and good things will happen.

Secondly, clean up your social media profiles and use them to position yourself for a job. You don't have experience, but you can overcome it by blogging, sharing articles and connecting to the right people.

kmueller62
kmueller62

@RMSorg thanks, RM! HOw are you doing??

RmSorg
RmSorg

 @Shonali Great tips Shonali!! LOL on the :)... Maybe that's what I'm doing wrong!! LOL

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@Marijean That's important, and these students have a real leg up on us with social media for that. It was harder for us old folks to stay in touch back in the day. Took a lot more effort. But now with FB and LinkedIn, in particular, it is so much easier. A corollary of that is: don't burn any bridges.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@TheJackB Another good list. I like #6. Always surprised at how people badmouth their work or coworkers online. Duh.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@TomBLogue great list, Tom. I'll definitely make sure they read this list!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@Erin F. Good list. All are important, and things that we usually react against. We feel some sense of entitlement when we graduate, only to find that the world doesn't quite work that way.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@hanelly Great ideas. I love the things about being out there and privacy. so important.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@DanielleGross A picture of me in a bathing suit ANYWHERE is a no no. I'd lose business fast. Great tips, Dani!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@@Quartz164 Great tips, Kevin. I especially like the idea of blogging and connecting as a way of overcoming your lack of experience. I know that of my students last year, a number of them were so motivated that they did have practical experience, working with a variety of companies. I hope I find the same thing with this year's class!

RMSorg
RMSorg

@kmueller62 Much better thanks!! Had a hard time dealing with my baby's HS graduation and I got very ill for 2 weeks!! How did you deal?

DanielleGross
DanielleGross

@KenMueller@DanielleGross And re: social media, I'd echo what @hannelly above says about privacy = "hidden temporarily". Someone can always RT your "private" musings.

Don't ask something that can't be googled first (contact information, addresses...) it's OK to email to confirm, but look like you've tried to do some research first!

And I'd suggest sticking to one channel of contact until you know someone. Oddly enough the other day someone asked me something on twitter, tracked me down on LinkedIn and messaged me to ask it again, then after I had answered it via LinkedIn, they asked me it again on Twitter. Strange, and kind of headache-inducing.

RMSorg
RMSorg

@kmueller62 That is great Ken!! Congrats and best of luck on her new job!!

kmueller62
kmueller62

@RMSorg well my daughter is in the real world now (but living at home) and started her first real job today

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@DanielleGross@hannelly that's because you're popular! they want to connect with you everywhere!

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