Recruiter: The job hunt has in many, many ways gone digital. Boris Epstein, CEO and founder of BINC, a search firm that fills tech positions, has made it a priority to know his way around social networks and be an active Web 2.0 participant. Epstein is on Facebook; so are his company and his employees. They`re all on LinkedIn and active on the company`s Twitter account, as well as its corporate blog. "If we relied solely on phone and email, we`d become recruiting dinosaurs in no time," Epstein says.
Sarah Lacy, cohost of Yahoo`s Tech Ticker and author of "Once You`re Lucky, Twice You`re Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0," says companies that are successfully using social networking to recruit college graduates are often choosing to make one individual their advocate or personality on Facebook or LinkedIn. Successful recruiters make the process friendly and humane: "They might say, `Look, we`re interested in this skill set: Maybe go do this, and you can come back,`" Lacy says. "Someone who`s really being helpful and not cramming a marketing message down these kids` throats."
Social media marketing manager: Social media managers didn`t exist a decade ago, but companies are looking for individuals to guide their Web 2.0 efforts -- to organize company blogging, online communities, viral marketing, podcasting. It`s part strategist, part evangelist, and it requires a real knowledge of social networking sites.
For recent college graduates who have a sound base of Web 2.0 savvy, those skills should be a good selling point to employers. "Overall, it`s become increasingly more important for nearly every position, marketing in particular," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. About a year ago, social networking skills were sought after merely as tools in recruiting, but the bigger driver now is in companies` networking and connecting, Haefner says.
Photographer: If you make your living with a camera, then there`s no better way to market yourself than to show off your product. Social networks are no-brainers for photographers: They can post their photos, connect through blogs, and start groups, all of which will help build their brand and spread their name.
Ventures aimed at the e-commerce opportunities for photography have proved less than successful, says Lacy, whose husband is a photographer. "There`s something about buying art online that doesn`t work," she says. It`s the online relationship-building that works for artists. Social networks allow them to have connections with their appreciators -- or, literally, groupies, if you`ve got a Facebook group -- and reach new customers.
The bonus here is that you don`t need fancy tech credentials. You may, however, benefit from fluency in a second language. Of course, if you don`t like interacting with people, as the blog Valleywag points out, you may not enjoy this gig.
Tech reporter/blogger: It`s your job to scout the Web for stories and build a big pile of sources for tech-related scoops. Sure, there are Digg meetups to attend, but tech reporters and bloggers belong online. Look at TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, who has turned his site into the source for Silicon Valley news. Aside from his site, Arrington has friends on Facebook, gets the news out in bits on Twitter, and makes connections and shares his resume on LinkedIn. However Arrington gets his scoops, he`s clearly not hard to find.
Lacy says she likes to use her Twitter account to cull ideas and sources for her BusinessWeek.com columns. At different points in her career, she has found Facebook or LinkedIn more helpful -- "I think it just depends on what you`re trying to accomplish at that period in time," she says.
Product managers and developers: Product managers keep their eye on consumers. They`re looking for what drives their decision making and then translating the consumers` wants to developers, who build that into the product, Epstein says.
"These companies, like Facebook and all their competitors in the social networking world, they want their engineers and product managers to be avid Web 2.0 users themselves," Epstein says. "So they know themselves what they would want in an application, in a feature, so that they then could develop it, basically."
While a developer usually has a computer science degree or even an electrical engineering degree, an ideal product manager knows technically what it takes to build a product, plus has a strong dose of business acumen, according to Epstein. Many product managers start out as engineers and transition into the business side, sometimes picking up M.B.A.`s on the way.
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