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Getting paid for social networking

BY RAYZA GOLDSMITH
Daily Staff Reporter
Published November 22, 2011

In the search for an entry-level job or summer internship, it's hard to ignore the amount of positions in managing social media. Just a few years ago, these jobs didn't exist, but with the launch of Facebook in 2004, social networks not only redefined the way people interact, but profoundly influence one of the most important aspects of an individual's life: their job.

Social media has created a new set of career possibilities for college graduates and has changed the character of existing fields like marketing and advertising. It has even changed the way people who would otherwise prefer to have nothing to do with social media network and apply for jobs.

Tweeting for a job

Social media is the defining characteristic of “Web 2.0.” While the Internet began as a way to deliver content to users, the growth of social media networks has built the Internet into a platform for users to interact with one another.

Scott Campbell, an assistant professor of communication studies at the University, sees social media networks as portals for connections among people.

“Social media is a movement toward being sensitive to the fact that what people really want are opportunities to connect with other people, access content on their own, create content on their own (and) exchange content, as opposed to having stuff fed to them,” Campbell said.

The evolution of the Internet has brought about an evolution in the job market as well. Today, job seekers use social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to network with other professionals and find job postings.

But job hunters aren’t the only people using social media for career purposes. Employers today have the ability to go online and analyze job applicants’ social media presence before conducting interviews or before making a job offer.

Scott Tsuchiyama, community manager for the Univerisity's Career Center, says social media is influential in the job hiring process.

“It’s definitely a double-edged sword,” Tsuchiyama said.

According to a Nov. 9 posting on the Career Center’s blog, 91 percent of the group of 300 hiring managers surveyed visit social media sites to view candidates’ online profile. Of those surveyed, 69 percent said the information they found caused them to reject a job applicant, and 68 percent said the information influenced them to hire the candidate.

An individual’s social media presence can make or break his or her job prospects.

Social media is a force to be reckoned with in the job market, but Tsuchiyama notes the benefits of a social media presence can outweigh the potential harm.

He advises students to build a strong LinkedIn account and put together a professional Twitter, which will likely be the first sites employers will see when conducting a quick Google search.

Selling the product

In addition to the impact social media has had on the job application process, it has provided a whole new world of job opportunities for those particularly enamored with social networking.

Lindsay Blackwell graduated from the University in 2010 with a degree in English and linguistics. But for her, social media marketing was always her main focus.

Blackwell gained notoriety in October when she launched a campaign to become the University's social media director, a new position offered by Lisa Rudgers, the University’s vice president for global communications and strategic initiatives.

Blackwell’s campaign, titled “Dear Lisa Rudgers,” is embodied by the website she created, www.dearlisarudgers.com, which features a video résumé and tabs with information about why she wants the job and why the University should hire her.

The site has had more than 14,000 individual visitors in 62 different countries since it launched on Oct. 10, and Blackwell has been consistently updating the site since then.