How to Get Hired as an Online Community Manager

2014-2015 Issue 2

What does an online community manager do? What traits should they have? *

These are just some of the questions that come up at a class in Social Media Strategies and Community Management, which is offered as part of the Professional Development Certificate in Digital Communications and Community Management at McGill’s School of Continuing Studies.

Created for professionals working in marketing, publications and communications, this 5-course program is for those who wish to acquire knowledge and skills in digital media, online community management, and content creation. Courses are offered evenings and weekends to accommodate a 9-to-5 schedule.

Student Marc Roth is among those enrolled. “I’m already working in a marketing role,” explains Roth, who serves as Group Marketing Manager for a Montreal-based manufacturer. “We’ve only started dipping our toes into Social and Community Management, and these courses will accelerate implementing our plan. I completed an MBA in Marketing, but we never covered anything social media related.”

Roth began the program in September 2014, and if he continues taking one course per semester, he’ll be done by June 2015. “The first course gives you an introduction, and the program overall gives us the structure. It’s quick – it’s intense as far as speed.”


Another student, Elaine Chubry, currently serves as a Multimedia Manager for Breville Canada, who’s started “dabbling in social media.” Thanks to the program, she’s “learning to do it in a way that’s strategic, working with best practices.”

That’s the reason Steven Varga enrolled. “I have a Graduate Diploma in Communications and Public Relations Management, but a lot of positions are asking for social media skills,” says Varga.

As a result, instructor Jackson Wightman is doing his best to keep his class up-to-date. Wightman holds an MBA from Concordia University, serves as a contributing editor at PR Daily, and is the owner of Proper Propaganda, a Montreal-based inbound marketing and PR agency.

Each week, one student presents an online tool of their choice. Tonight, there’s two:, which shares online content, and Trello, an online project manager which gets rave reviews from the class.

“I think this program is a good fit for managers who aren’t necessarily familiar with the strategies we’re talking about,” says Wightman. “Maybe you’re a marketing director who has no digital experience, or a content creator who’s unfamiliar with online channels.” As a result, all in-class exercises and homework can be applied in real-life situations. “Everything I assign is framed as ‘you can take this to work,’” says Wightman. “I run an agency, and some of the homework submissions I receive, I could give them to a client and I think they’d go, ‘wow.’”

* What does an online community manager do?

– Represent the brand’s voice
– Curate content
– Listen to their community
– Engage members
– Plan and prepare calendars
– Take photos, make collages, edit video
– Analyze metrics
– Be a brand advocate

* What traits should they have?

– Sociable
– Level-headed in a crisis
– The ability to tell a story
– Patient
– Curious
– A good writer
– A fast worker
– The ability to improvise


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