#CmgrChat 6/22 How to Become a Community Manager

From veterans to novices, this chat offers good advice on how to enter community management. Evan Hamilton, of the B2B app UserVoice, suggested that the new term for community manager ought to be Chief Happiness Officer (despite the “slightly awkward” acronym). Regardless of job title or description, job seekers and aspiring hopefuls can learn a lot from today’s discussion.

The key take-aways appeared to be two-fold:

  1. CMs create value in building relationships, sometimes more so than the fancy tools they use
  2. Along similar lines, they must be “people persons”

Of course, feel free to chime in here!


Q1) For the vets: How did you become a Community Manager? & Why?

evanhamilton How to become a community manager: Be passionate. Be empathetic. Pay attention to communities. Apply for a hell of a lot of jobs.

RavenCourts Started in community journalism and it’s really not that different–just need to care about your audience and like to listen

_faith My academic journey to comm. manager? Adv. major/creative writing minor -> copywriting internship > SM internship > tada!

LovelyLu I became a Community Manager way back in 1996 during the AOL chatroom days and just transitioned into social media

bottlethecrazy I became a CM by accident. I was a blogger, and previous boss found personal blog. I learned what a CM was after being hired

ericfoster I think the REAL answer is that CM’s usually become CM’s by doing jobs no one else wants to do.

bluephoenixnyc A mix of different positions. CMs will set the mold for many roles down the line = People who can do a lot and quickly.

MassMarotta Started in customer service, moved to ecommerce – married the two roles for a “new” role at the time. I basically fell into it

SarahJaneMorris Have been in mktg for years – worked on a product launch at a prev. company, and that product became my baby. Instant CM.

morganbrady Senior Seminar paper on SM in corp world lead to interest in SM, to Dig Mkt Internship at Weplay, to my CM job now!


Q2. How does a CM job search differ from other job searches? Or does it?

tmonhollon It’s about who you know and who knows you, but also who knows who you know 🙂

ericfoster Community management is a buzzword that has gained popularity recently. The market is now saturated, so job hunting is tough.

bottlethecrazy Forgot the hashtag! A2. My biggest challenge with CM job searches is that the role is difficult to describe on paper.

DC_PQ You still need the basic resume but in my experience, my social resume & strong personal brand helped me the most.

_faith CM job search starts w/ your digital footprint, it better be awesome!

meghan_krane CM job search for me was about getting connected in the startup community, and soc media was a huge part of that

dharait I would like to add Communications too to the list

rachaelgk Trying to determine if the company understands what a CM should actually be/do, or whether it’d be an (endless) struggle.

evanhamilton I’d also say genuine passion is key. I’ve been told I got hired because of my real passion – others were just as qualified.

momnonstop I stayed connected and invested in relationships online to find the job I’m at now

vanriper One difference is the job itself has vague definition, make sure what you apply for is what you are looking for =)

dstaley Also, as an intern, I look for a kick-ass CM or CM team to learn from!

KellyLux Many people working in SM are new grads, so using your alumni network is reallyhelpful too.

alyce Can’t forget: do your homework on the company, & learn everything you can about online social influencers


Q3: What advice would you give to first timers or those looking to become a #cmgr?

7Huck Ask hiring mgr What does community management mean to you? so expectations are clear from get-go

SarahJaneMorris Ask yourself why you want to get into CM. Buzzzword? Think it’s all about social media? Think again.

momnonstop It’s fun exciting and REALLY hard work! Stay involved and always stay on top of new developments

vanriper Volunteer to help a #cmgr of a community you are already involved in and are passionate about

LovelyLu Start blogging, join tribes, build up your social presence. That is your new resume!

leemckusick Participate in communities! Be a community manager, even if you don’t have the title.

Jmodio It’s a never ending job and doesn’t fit into the normal 9-5 work hours.

KellyLux Fight the good fight. If you’re organization is confused about what SM is, teach them!

justicewordlaw Read books that talk about sales, customer services, pr, marketing, and psy.. grow your knowledge any time you can

beccabernstein A3: Audit the brand + it’s presence on all networks. Check sub-brands + leaders. Evaluate tone/voice. Weave findings into convo.

JPedde LIVE on Twitter during your job search. Attend ALL meetups. Write & read & communicate like you’ve never done before.


Q4. Name the best resources for Community Managers both before and after the job search.

LovelyLu Company website and community is the best resource.

evanhamilton Some community manager job boards:

jasonmkey Required CM reading @oneforty @socialfresh @feverbee @thecmgr @seomoz

tmonhollon An optimized LinkedIn profile is really important for job seekers. Recruiters are very keen on that site.

vanriper: Follow @blaisegv he does an awesome job of curating #cmgr content

rhogroupee I’d also add @communitygirl to the resource list; she’s cool.

applegirl Any CMs interested in a position at @EdelmanDigital check out our careers page & follow @Edelman_Careers


So see you at the next chat, Wednesdays 2-3pm EST!  Leave a comment below to suggest a chat topic, or contact Jenn Pedde or Kelly Lux directly!

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About the author

Judi Huck

Mover. Shaker. Candlestick maker. Currently engaged as a community and social media strategist.


I became a CM for my site because I was the only one available-and "site administrator" was just too limiting!


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