by Kristin Burnham

Social Media Careers: 3 Hot Jobs and Resume Tips

Jan 24, 2011
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Social media career job opportunities tripled in 2010, as compared to 2009. Here's what you need to know about 3 hot positions, plus expert do's and don'ts when you're applying for social media jobs.

If you’re a pro at using social media—think Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter—turning that hobby, or job skill set, into a new career is becoming increasingly common. According to a U.S. News and World Report, employers posted three times as many jobs with “social media” in the title in 2010 than in 2009. Businesses are trying to fill a huge demand for individuals who can use these Web-based networks to a company’s benefit, the report said.

“We’re still in the early adopter phase of social media jobs,” says Mike Ramer, President of Ramer Search Consultants, which works with leading companies in media and communications. “I like to say that right now we’re in the third inning of a nine-inning game.”

Ramer estimates that these new positions—specifically C-level ones—will take some time to mature, anywhere from two to five years. Currently, most of these rising positions report to marketing, he says, but likely will have dotted line responsibility to human resources or IT. “Social media has a real information management element to it.”

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As the prevalence of these positions increase, companies are being “optimistically cautious” in hiring, Ramer says. Business leaders are acknowledging the social media trend, but they’re still concerned about managing risks within the organization.

Here’s a look at three rising social media careers plus do’s and don’ts when applying for them. Note that the salaries will differ depending on the size of the business, location and to whom the position reports, Ramer says.

1. Community Manager

Experience: 0 to 3 years for entry level; 4 to 6 years for junior level Responsibilities: Community managers tend to focus on maintaining a brand’s Facebook page or Twitter account and keeping conversations alive, says Ramer. They manage the company’s online presence and gather feedback about it from the marketplace. Community managers also work as liaisons between the brand and the customers. People in these positions tend to wear many hats, including customer relations, marketing and public relations. Be on the lookout for the buzzwords “engaging” and “motivating.”

Compensation: Some community manager positions are part-time and pay hourly wages. Other businesses hire full-time community managers. Entry-level community managers at a startup or small business can expect a starting salary of $30,000 to $35,000. Junior-level community managers (with four to six years of experience) can expect $35,000 to $45,000, Ramer says.

2. Social Media Director

Experience: 6 to 10 years Responsibilities: Responsibilities may include overseeing the company’s social media strategy as well as its development and execution. Social media directors can be responsible for social media teams across internal brands and platforms, coordinating and executing the planning of social media campaigns and acting as an advocate of social media integration within the company. This position will likely report to the chief marketing officer, with possible dotted lines to HR and IT.

Compensation: Depending on the size and location of the business, social media directors can expect to make between $65,000 and $85,000, Ramer says.

3. Senior Vice President of Social Strategy

Experience: 10+ years Responsibilities: The SVP of social strategy is a role that is evolving, Ramer says, and you’re likely to see more of this position in the coming years. The position of SVP of social strategy will be derived from senior-level marketing roles, featuring the responsibility of directing the social media policy for the organization. In many situations, the SVP of social strategy will oversee social media in addition to other responsibilities, such as marketing strategy, client strategy and content creation.

Compensation: Salaries for SVPs of social strategy are commensurate with their earning level (VP versus SVP), between $90,000 and $120,000, Ramer says.

Do’s and Don’ts for Applying for Social Media Jobs

If you’re actively searching for a job in social media, Ramer recommends adhering to these basic do’s and don’ts.

Do: – Do state in your social media profiles (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, for example) that you’re seeking a social media job. – Do use key words like “engagement” and “community” in your resume—these buzz words are often used in job postings. – Do use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook in your search for social media jobs. Search these sites frequently for new postings.

– Do be active on social media sites: Ask and answer questions, for example, and engage others in conversation. This will help you get noticed and develop as an expert.

– Do use upbeat, positive words in your resume and social media profiles, and consistently convey enthusiasm and passion for the field.

Don’ts: – Don’t be unprofessional in your online behavior and photos—be aware of your online reputation and how you portray yourself. – Don’t use negative words and downer language in your day-to-day online activities. – Don’t be unresponsive when people ask you a question—react in a timely manner and strive to give the best advice.

– Don’t be fake, dishonest or rude. People sense this.

Kristin Burnham covers Consumer Technology, SaaS, Social Networking and Web 2.0 for Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline. Email Kristin at