The Organic Marketer

College Teaches Important Social Marketing “Skill”?

Posted in Interviewing & Hiring by Jim Tome on June 3, 2008
Tags: , , , , ,


With the increasing usage of social networks like MySpace, connecting to consumers is almost second nature.

With the increasing usage of social networks like MySpace, connecting to consumers is almost second nature.

As a professional marketer who tends to be a generation behind those I hire and manage, I’ve been constantly faced with the challenge of connecting to and fostering relationships with my younger peers who are entering the workforce. In fact, according to an article at CNN Money today, more and more companies are looking to younger workers — even before they fully enter the workforce — to staff some of their entry-level positions and help them transition through the current economic downturn.

I came upon an article the other day on which was a pick-up from the popular Chicagoland daily newspaper, The Daily Herald. It seems local community college, Elgin Community College (ECC), actually has a course for students to help them set up and manage their MySpace pages. 

The instructor, Nathan Murfree, is an 18-year-old ECC student who will instruct users how to create a safe and content-savvy Web page. According to Murfree, “I want to talk about the controversial issues around MySpace … Internet predators, precautions to take, communications — simple things to keep them out of trouble.”

Now, as hiring managers, we’ve all visited — often to abject horror — the MySpace and Facebook pages of some of our incoming hires. In fact, I’ve brought up many times (thankfully mostly to interns who appreciate the feedback — even if they don’t fully understand the reasoning) during an interview that those looking to enter the professional world should at least “clean up” their profiles on these online community networks, if not create — and promote — professional versions that present them in a light that makes me believe they aren’t going to roll into work late every Monday morning with a walking hangover.

In fact, according to an older blog posting by marketing guru, Seth Godin, he remarks on some wonderful strategies students — and everyone seeking a new job — should employ. How wonderful would it be as a hiring manager to know about and read a candidate’s fresh and insightful marketing blog rather than the same drivel about their “management experience” at 7-Eleven?

While I applaud ECC for being concerned about their students well-being and safety online, as a manager, I’d also like to see learning institutions step in and teach the importance of how students represent themselves online as much as on their resumes.


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