You heard a rumour you could get paid building and managing online communities. You’ve read all about how to build trust, know what the job entails, and are positive you’re cut out for it (and your star sign says you should give it a go). But you’ve hit a wall – where can you find these fabled Community Manager jobs?
When I started looking for Community Management roles to apply for years ago, they were thin on the ground and incredibly hard to find. They often had obscure titles too, before these started being formalised. Things are better now, and it isn’t too difficult to find the occasional Community Manager or Social Media Manager role advertised on job sites. But if you want to get to the really good gigs, you need to start digging. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Community Manager Associations
You may be surprised to know there are a number of Community Manager Associations in operation throughout the world. Apart from offering fantastic support and advice from your peers, you can also come across a few job postings through them as they are of course attractive to recruiters.
In the UK you can find the Community Manager’s Association over at e-Mint, which also loosely acts as an international association. There are also Australian, Spanish, German and Dutch associations that I am aware of as well as loose associations in Italy and France (if anyone knows any links, please let me know in the comments!). There is probably one in your country – look up some Community Managers and connect with them to find it. (and let me know so I can update this list)
2. Job sites
Even with the rise of Social Media and easy networking, job sites are still a very effective place to find roles on. The problem I find is that there are so many now! I’ve had success in finding Social Media Community Manager roles on more traditional ones like Craigslist, and Trovit.
News blogs have also started providing job boards such as Mashable, and you will no doubt have Marketing or similar industry trade websites providing CV services and roles to apply for; for example, in the UK we have Revolution and Mad. Finally you can scour job advertising companies posting on Twitter via the excellent TwitJobSearch.
3. Community blogs
There are a few Community Management professionals maintaining blogs, which you may already be aware of. Some of them also provide a job board for their readers, advertising roles they find or are asked to promote.
Jake McKee has one, Jeremiah Owyang does too, as does Sue John. There are also a number of organisations aggregating roles such as The Moderator Community, The Community Roundtable (which provides a central database of Community Managers to advertisers) and Forum One.
Given that Twitter usage is on many of the job descriptions for Social Media and Online Community Manager roles, it stands to reason that recruiters will advertise these roles on there. In fact, it’s one of the easiest ways to find jobs to apply for, if you know where and how to look.
I and others advertise jobs regularly, so make sure to follow us. You can also input specific keywords into Twitter Search or create a column in Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to track jobs as they come in, often direct from company accounts or Twitter Job accounts.
5. Track companies you want to work for
The more interesting Community Manager roles I find are rarely advertised beyond the company’s website or social network presence, particularly startups. This means working a little harder to find these jobs, but the payoff is almost always worth it.
I like to maintain lists of company I come across that I think are cool, or I trawl the media’s “Top 100 companies to work for” or “Rising companies” lists for ones I would love to work with. I then build custom RSS feeds to track their job pages or Twitter accounts and keep an eye on them periodically.
6. Participate or volunteering
The best way to learn is to get involved in an existing online community, offering to help the Community Manager run forums or membership groups. Moderating content or hosting debates is a great way to get a feel for the role and learn from someone who can share experience with you.
If you’re not strapped for cash or are earning already from another job, volunteering for Charity or Art jobs is another quick way to get your foot in the door. The pay may be low or non-existent, but the opportunities are there and the learning opportunity will be just as worthwhile. Site such as CharityJOB and the Art Council often list internships for community management. It might even lead to a paid job!
7. Google alerts
By now you should have a nice long list of keywords you are tracking. You can enter them into Google Alerts to be sent an email whenever these are picked up by the Google spiders. Just make sure you have these emails automatically filed when received or you risk swamping your inbox as your list grows.
Some companies are advertising their roles only on LinkedIn, with increasing reliance on the system of Recommendations to find top-quality candidates, so make sure your profile is written up and goes into detail about your professional experience.
Sign up for groups relevant to your industry, set up the Jobs widget in the right-hand side column on your welcome page to track keywords referring to Community Management as well as search the jobs tab, and develop both your network (recruiters often post new roles in their status box) and ask for Recommendations from past colleagues.
Make use of your immaculate communication skills and find other Community Managers. We’re easy to find on Twitter and LinkedIn, and always happy to connect. If you’re struggling, I maintain a Community Manager Twitter list you can follow or pick out people from.
10. Build your own
Patrick O’Keefe, who published a great book on Managing Online Forums, built his own network of communities – starting up your own forum can’t hurt and will give you a platform to practise your skills on, but be prepared for the long haul as success won’t happen overnight, if at all.
I hope you find this list useful as a starting point in finding a job as a Social Media or Online Community Manager. Do you use any other tools or websites to find such jobs? Would love to hear about them!
[photo by deanmeyersnet]