By Shannon Abram, Relationship Manager at The Community Roundtable.
As we close in on CMAD this Monday, we hope there will be a lot of focus on community managers and their careers. Our Community Manager Salary Survey 2014 found signs of an emerging career path for community professionals – but it’s not a path driven by the help wanted ads.
Community management is a profession of relationships – use your network to discover your next role. Most community jobs are not currently found through traditional job listings.
We found in our Community Manager Salary Survey 2014 research that only 27% of community managers found their current role through a job listing. Instead, build your professional community and network to identify new opportunities. Have a brand you are passionate about? Join their community as a member – showing interest and commitment to something you love is a great way to get noticed by a potential employer.
And get yourself more noticed in the places you want to succeed. In a digital industry, reputation matters. Share what you know and seek to connect with others in the industry. Whether you’re active on Twitter or LinkedIn, contribute to a professional development network or association, serve as a mentor, or speak at events, taking the time to help others learn what you know will demonstrate your expertise and commitment. Having a strong professional network increases your likelihood of having the inside scoop on new community manager jobs.
Propose your own promotion
And sometimes, the best next step on your career path is as close as your current desk. If you’ve been in your role for a few years, evaluate your current responsibilities and goals for your community and seek out an opportunity to promote yourself. Think about what you do and need to keep up with the day-to-day tasks in the community AND stay on top of strategic planning – and write a new job description detailing how a new higher level role would better capture the work you do, benefit the community and make the case for hiring someone to help out with your previous responsibilities. Smart employers know the critical importance of retaining top talent, and your approach can help you articulate both your value and the value of your community in important ways.