Hire Someone Skilled Regardless of Age

graduation

I recently read an article on Inc titled “11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media.” Let me start off by saying that yes, I did read the generalization pardon. Yes, people shouldn’t be hired just because they are “really good at Facebook” (that’s how my parents describe what I do, because they’re not social media saavy). No one should ever be hired “just because.”

That being said, “just because” someone is a new graduate doesn’t mean they are ill-equipt to work in the professional world. I would bet that it’s these types of generalizations that are helping keep the unemployment rate up for new graduates.

In less than a month, I’ll be turning 23. For the past year, I’ve worked on building the web presence for the JCC Association, creating a brand strategy and a social media strategy, as well as started to learn the ins and outs of non-profit marketing. I wasn’t hired because I’m “good at Facebook.” I’ve had experience working with major brands to promote their platforms. As an intern at TechSmith, my boss didn’t say, “Sorry, I can’t trust you to tweet for us. You’re too young.” I watched and I learned for a couple of weeks, and then I was given partial reigns. We worked together with a social media team to help TechSmith customers learn how to better use their software. At Swagger New York, I didn’t create videos or posts on Facebook without going through an editorial process. This fear of young people taking over and destroying a credible brand seems to be leaking into the hiring process.

I know plenty of smart graduates who are eager for a chance to learn with the best and the brightest. By calling my generation “not mature enough” to handle a job and saying we lack communication skills, it implies that it’s an ailment only we suffer. There are plenty of people in their 30’s and 40’s who should be no where near a company’s social media presence. Just because someone has Facebook doesn’t mean they can run a brand page, regardless of their age.

In-class experience isn’t enough to make someone job-ready. Internships, fellowships, and hands-on activity is absolutely necessary and shouldn’t be discredited.

If there is one thing that the article eluded to that was absolutely right, it’s that we do need mentors. New graduates and young adults aren’t necessarily ready to be the Vice President or Executive Director. That’s not to say we’re incapable of performing all of the tasks at hand. We want and need mentors. Successful social media strategies for brands are rarely run by a singular person. It takes a dedicated team of professionals to monitor and engage with people on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, etc.

I’m not saying I’m perfect. I make plenty of mistakes. However, the only way to learn is to be given the chance, to make mistakes and to learn from them.

Let’s re-title the article. How about “11 Reasons Someone Not Trained in Writing/Rhetoric/Communications/Marketing Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media.” It’s a bit long, but it’s much closer to the target. Don’t hire someone you don’t think you can trust to run your social media. You’re right, I do spend some work days reading articles on Mashable and The Next Web about trends and better brand management. I do see my personal notifications on Twitter and Facebook while I’m online doing work. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean it’s going to occupy my entire day; however, I’m not going to neglect my personal brand just because I’m at my work desk. I’d like to say most people in the field will agree that credibility is built not only from your work as the professional behind the company’s mask but also as an individual.

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