Social Media Skill as a Job Requirement

Embedding strategic digital communications into roles

February 11, 2016
Embedding social media into student affairs job requirements

Every once in a while, I will take a few minutes and browse the student affairs job listings here on Inside Higher Ed. I think it's always a good idea to see who's hiring and what types of openings are available. It's a great way to see how the profession is evolving. There are always new positions/titles and new skill requirements.

I remember when I first starting seeing social media fluency as a core requirement for certain student affairs positions. Initially, there weren't a lot of student affairs divisions that were formally introducing social media (generally for engagement and strategic communications) into non-communications-centric roles. However, things certainly have changed.

While the inclusion of social media as a core skillset hasn't completely found its way into the student affairs profession, there are quite a few jobs that list social media as part of the gig.

There were 712 student affairs jobs listed on Inside Higher Ed when I started writing this post (obviously, that number is subject to change as listings expire and new postings are put up on the site). A quick search for "social media" yielded 56 jobs within the student affairs job category.

Thematically, and as you might expect, several of these positions are in a wide array of functional areas: academic advising, career services, orientation / engagement programs, student activities / co-curricular programs, community outreach, residence life, international student support, and alumni relations.

It will be interesting to see if there is an ever-increasing trend in the inclusion of social media as a job requirement for student affairs practitioners in light of the (relatively) new technology competency from ACPA/NASPA. Additionally, a lot of these positions list social media in the same way that they list fluency with MS Office or other generic technology-related elements as job requirements. I wonder if a potential candidate's social media usage/fluency will be checked/evaluated as part of the hiring process?

By the way, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that this post was partially inspired by Joe Sabado's blog post on "Technology Responsibilities & Qualifications for Senior Student Affairs Officers." Also, it was announced this week that Joe was elected as the new chair for the NASPA Technology Knowledge Community. Congratulations to Joe on his new leadership role within the association!

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