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It's Monday morning. You sign into your Facebook profile to update your status and you start due diligence on your friends' profiles. You're looking at photos from the weekend when you see that your girlfriend was tagged in an album of someone who is not your 'friend.'
You click through to that person's profile to get the scoop on how they know each other. Then you see some mutual friends, click around a few more times and before you know it, you're looking at wedding photos of people you don't even know.
If you have a social networking profile, the above scenario probably seems all too familiar. (Trust me; there's a reason I was able to go through the steps of it so well...)
While many job seekers heed advice on joining social media sites to use as networking tools, they are also warned not to invest too much time -- especially at work -- in these all-consuming, often-addictive online vehicles.
"With social media becoming a major player in how people communicate and interact with each other, it's natural that this industry needs a marketplace," says Jim Durbin, vice president of social media at Durbin Media, an interactive marketing firm. "A lot of jobs in online marketing are all now requiring some level of social media expertise. The real question is whether the jobs coalesce into new departments and position, or if they become skill sets under old departments."
Social media on the rise
More companies are utilizing social networking efforts by Twittering, blogging and creating profiles on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to gain exposure and increase customer service.
The Daniel Group/Dan Temps, for example, decided to take advantage of social media to enhance its brand recognition. Jarrod Daniel, president of the executive search and staffing firm, says the firm saw an opportunity to communicate better with its associates and candidates on topics like employment, market issues and internal events. Plus, having an active Facebook page has helped candidates find them and increase visibility.
"Our Facebook recruiting project has increased our visibility in regards to the job postings that we have. We used to get an average of 30 applications per posting before we created the Facebook page," Daniel says. "Since that page was created, the applications have gone up to an average of 150 applications per posting. That is a 500 percent increase in applications per posting in only three months."
While Dan Temps clearly figured out an effective strategy, not every company is in the same boat. Many firms know they need to get in the space, but once they're there, they have no idea how to leverage their existence. As a result, employers need people with social networking skills -- like you -- to come on board and take over.
Jobs for Facebook addicts
If you're a social media guru, here are five jobs to consider in your next job search:
Candidates have been on social networks for years now, and it's about time recruiters joined them. Daniel says Dan Temps' recruiters can find candidates faster, screen them better and reach out to individuals they wouldn't see otherwise.
"Dan Temps believes that the environment candidates are accustomed to in a social network will keep the conversations and information real," Daniel says. "Candidates don't feel they are being pressured in that environment like they would in a more formal interview or screening process and are more likely to get real with our recruiters."
Many companies are seeking social media strategists to find the best way to interact within various social sites and online communities. In this role, you would be the face of social media for your company, creating and maintaining an effective social media strategy by interacting with users, growing brand awareness, creating buzz, increasing traffic and providing valuable information. To thrive in this position, Durbin says you must have a proven track record of achieving goals, or companies will be hesitant to hire you.
3. Enterprise architect
"This is the most exciting job in social media and requires someone with broad experience in networks, multiple platforms, development, security and political infighting," Durbin says. "This is a very rare find. It's for companies looking to completely revamp their content management strategy and internal networks. It could be the most important role in a company in the next five years."
4. User operations analyst
For any company with an online presence, user experience is one of the most vital parts of the business. The only way to monitor that is to have someone in charge of the experience themselves. No matter if the company is blogging, has a Web site or pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, user operations analysts interact with users, answer queries, investigate problems and keep track of user habits.
5. Director of social media
Similar to a strategist, companies need someone to organize company blogging, viral marketing, podcasting, etc. This person has a background in building teams and who really gets the promise and the purpose of social media, Durbin says. These folks should be wary of new technologies and be all over blogs, RSS, have Facebook and Twitter accounts, and know the difference between his or her employees playing and researching on MySpace and YouTube.
Searching for social media jobs
You might think that finding social media jobs is difficult but many of these positions under a variety of job titles that don't include "social media."
Try searching job boards and the Internet for "social media," "interactive marketing," "new media" or "branding manager" and you should get a good start in the right direction.
Copyright CareerBuilder.com 2009. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority
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