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Talking careers with Jacqui from Facebook

by Yvette Maurice

Jacqui Cole from Sydney has what most people would call “a very cool job”. She works at Facebook, and loves her company and her industry. Here, she talks to Open Colleges about her career path, her career tips and the social media industry.

What is your job title?

I am a client partner at Facebook.

What do you do for Facebook?

I work in the education, healthy living and non-profits verticals. I work with large advertisers who want to market their products or services on Facebook and I help them plan their business marketing strategies. It’s great fun! I’ve been there for nearly four years now.

What was your path to employment?

After high school: All I wanted to do was go travelling. I got some administration jobs for a couple of years to save up as much money as I could. Then I decided I wanted to work in travel, so when I came back, I worked for 8 years, doing some time at Flight Centre. Then I decided to move to the UK.


The view from the Facebook offices in Sydney, NSW

After my entry-level jobs: In London, I aimed to work as PA (personal assistant), as that was one of the jobs I had researched that suited my natural skill set. I started working at AOL and got my first taste of the online media industry. I moved to Yahoo after that and got into Brand Operations on the sales side. I stayed at Yahoo for a while and they eventually moved me to Dublin, where I became manager of a team.

When I began at Facebook: Eventually, I moved back to London for my dream job at Facebook. I started as an account manager and then started managing a team. I moved back to Australia a year ago and I moved into a client partner role. (With my current role) there’s more of a focus on strategic decision-making and working directly with sales teams and our advertising partners.


What are your 3 core skills?

  1. Communication:  is a huge thing in a role like mine. I have to know technical-speak, I have to know how to communicate at a “CMO” (Chief Marketing Officer) level. One day I might be talking about optimisation, the platform and what bid prices to set. The next day I might have an important meeting with the Head of Marketing of a company, where I need to be able to communicate at a high level of business engagement.
  2. Relationship skills: I aim to make sure all my clients know that I care about what they say. It’s important that I let the businesses that I manage know that I care about their success on Facebook. I get to do a lot of wining and dining, which is a fantastic part of my job. Building relationships face-to-face is key to my success and having a very trusting relationship with my clients is important.
  3.  Attention to detail: Facebook can be a tricky product. At the start of my career when I was more operations-focused, if I didn’t cross a “t” or dot an “i” then it could have a huge impact on the success of a campaign. There’s a technical part to my role; for example, understanding the platform and understanding what works and what doesn’t. I also have to stay on top of the new product features of Facebook for users and businesses.

The balcony upstairs at Facebook in Sydney, overlooking the city skyscape

How has social media changed the world?

Facebook’s core motto is “making the world more open and connected”. Mark Zuckerberg (co-founder, chairman and CEO of Facebook) is really passionate about this. Social media has made it easier for people to connect to people and brands around the world. The world is now a smaller place. You can contact someone wherever they are in the world, when you want to. It’s a passive way to communicate with lots of friends at once and whenever you want to. It’s making the world a smaller place, in a good way.

What are we are doing online that we weren’t 5 years ago?

Banking was limited; mobile has had a huge impact. Our mobile devices mean that we can be securely online all the time. Online shopping would be another thing, as costs have come down. Another thing would be using the internet as a research tool, frequently during the day.


Would you ever study an online course? If yes, which one?

I would, for sure. I have enrolled in a couple but have yet to find the time to do them. Both of the courses I chose were hobby-related (rather than courses for career progression). The courses I chose were Nutrition, and Indigenous Studies (editor’s note, Jacqui is not studying online with Open Colleges). I see online education as hugely valuable.  I really respect anyone who has the discipline to make the time to learn. Whichever way you do it, whether online or on-campus.

How does Facebook look for great candidates?

We tend to get a lot of referrals from current employees or “people who know people” in the industry. Facebook is a relatively small company; we have around five thousand employees globally, compared to Google’s seventy-odd thousand.

If we do have an opening, that’s our first point of call: we try to get someone to refer us. If we can’t do that then we have a small team of recruiters who are highly skilled. We put them through their paces and make sure they know how to find the best of the best.


A meeting at Facebook

If a candidate wanted a job at Facebook, or a company in a similar sector, what should they do?

It’s a combination of things. Networking, studying…interning is great but those positions don’t come up frequently. With the tech industry and social media there is a lot of information available online – you can follow all the Facebook pages for Tech Crunch and Mashable and other “techy” blogs. Social media in general is readily available to everyone. So get involved with all forms of it, use it as much as you can! Look at it both from a marketer’s perspective and from a user’s perspective.

Two candidates come to you for a role. One has a qualification gained online, and one has a qualification gained by studying at a traditional campus. Would you regard them differently?

I’m sure we’d look at them the same. Facebook only exists online so we value the online platform. It’s very mobile-focused, it’s very appealing to “techy-type” people! I really don’t think that anyone would look at an online qualification differently. A qualification is a qualification whether you get it online or on campus. I don’t think that Facebook is the type of company or the type of industry that would look at those qualifications differently.


Jacqui walks through the Facebook offices

What is your best piece of advice for those who are job seeking?

It’s really easy to get disheartened when what you want isn’t readily available, so don’t settle for anything less than you want. Just keep going after it. Every step on the path to your next career is there for a reason, I think if you gain employment at your ideal company – even if it’s not your ideal role – find out who can help you onto the next rung of your career. Find where those people are.

Don’t give up – that would be my best piece of advice! Go after something you really want and just apply yourself to it.


Exchanging ideas on the balcony at Facebook

Thanks, Jacqui, for talking the time to speak with Open Colleges. 

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