How to land your dream job—and keep it

Social media and online jobs are in demand. Here’s how to make yourself stand out when you apply for the job, and after you land it.

I’ve spent almost five years in the online marketing industry. It’s my goal to learn as much as I can from those who know the industry best, and in this seemingly short time I’ve received—and continue to receive—a top notch education.

Here are some of my tips on how to snag the job of your dreams:

The interview process

1. Do your homework.

It’s a huge mistake to walk into an interview with no knowledge of the company, what it stands for, or how it operates. This is especially true if you are an Internet marketer. I recommend you review the following information pre-interview:

  • Company website: This should give you a sense of the services the company offers and who some of its clients are.
  • Management: Research the members of the management team to get a sense of their backgrounds and accomplishments.
  • Content and social profiles: At the bare minimum, look at the company blog (if it has one), Twitter profile, Facebook page, and Google+ page.
  • News and press releases: Do a Google search to see if the company released any exciting news recently.

If you are working with a recruiter, ask as many questions about the company’s services, culture and preferences as possible. Typically, the recruiter will speak with contacts at the company and with other interviewees before your interview. This is a great opportunity to gain inside knowledge before you step in the door.

These are all great ways to educate yourself before your interview, and will allow you to have an intelligent conversation about the company while you’re there.

2. Demonstrate value.

Depending on what position you are applying for, identify where you think the company could improve. Go into the interview knowing you may not be 100 percent correct, but that the interviewer will appreciate the effort.

If you are applying for a social media position, take some time to analyze what the company is currently doing and what the results appear to be. Come up with a few recommendations to increase customer engagement.

Identify which companies you believe to be competitors. Perhaps you notice a competitor’s blog or social profile that has a lot of followers. Identify what the competitor is doing and how the company you are interviewing with could do that better.

Another great way to demonstrate value is to ask questions. Some to consider asking are:

  • What do you believe is your biggest area of need?
  • What would you like/need to focus on but don’t have enough time for?
  • What personality traits are you looking for in a candidate?
  • What does the typical day look like for this position?
  • Are there any other areas of your business you would like to grow?

3. Consider each interview a learning experience.

Even if it’s not your dream job, you should walk into each interview hoping to learn as much as possible. In addition to a great networking opportunity, it can give you a sense of what companies in the industry look for in a candidate and a chance to learn from someone else in the industry.

4. Ask for feedback.

As disappointing as it may be, you will not get every job you interview for. If the company decides not to hire you, don’t be afraid to ask why. Send a brief, polite email asking for feedback. Thank the interviewer for the opportunity and ask if she can recommend any skills that would make you more attractive to a company like hers.

Once you land your dream job, follow these tips to do your job well:

5. Know there will always be someone who knows more than you.

No matter how long you have been in the industry, there will always be other people who know something you don’t.

Keep tabs on what these people teach and, if applicable, apply the information to your own strategy. There may be tactics you don’t agree with, but it might give you a sense of what other respected members of the community recommend to your potential clients.

6. Welcome constructive criticism.

I thrive on feedback. If I don’t know what I’m doing wrong or how to fix it, how will I get better? I have a tendency to take feedback personally because I put so much of myself into my work, but I’ve learned to consider it an opportunity to learn more. Work to avoid the same mistakes next time.

It’s OK if you don’t agree with the feedback, but don’t argue unless you have the data to back it up. An educated opinion is worth more than an emotional response.

7. Be passionate.

It’s essential to care about your work. Don’t just care about the paycheck—be interested in what you do.

Companies and clients can tell if you are not invested in marketing their product and getting results. Social media is a full-time job. You must be willing to connect with customers even when it’s inconvenient to answer questions and address concerns.

8. Be adaptable.

In an industry that changes from one day to the next, those who aren’t adaptable will fall behind. Once you find tactics that work, document them and make them part of your process. This process will evolve over time, but it will help keep you and the rest of your team organized.

If you could share one thing you’ve learned working in the online industry, what would it be?

Ashley Zeckman is the marketing manager for TopRank Online Marketing where a version of this post originally ran. (Image via)

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