Companies want applicants with social-media skills

Looking for a job? Prove that you are technologically savvy

If you can’t Tweet, you might get beat — in the job hunt, that is.

The landscape of today’s job market is shifting, and the shift favors individuals who are savvy in social media.

“If you’re in advertising, marketing or communications, the more information you can put out to people where they want to see it, the better,” said Bob Van Rossum, president of MarketPro, a marketing recruitment company. “If you’re in one of those fields, it’s now required for you to be pretty savvy in the social media area, even if it’s not your primary focus.”

Atlanta job postings on a number of Web sites include Twitter and Facebook requirements for applicants.

A senior account executive position at Softscribe Inc. requires “5 years Tech PR Agency Record + Twitter.”

Mosaic Sales Solutions describes the “key characteristics” of its ideal Atlanta market training specialist as “an avid user of the Internet, blogs, Twitter and/or has a Facebook page or other social networking account.”

Valtech Technologies seeks an Atlanta scrum master/project manager whose critical responsibilities will include “social collaboration including work spaces like Wiki’s, blogs, Twitter, etc.”

That’s listed right above “proven ability to establish clear and effective objectives and milestones.”

“It is now the rage,” said Brett Stevens, president of SearchLogix recruiter company. “Do you Facebook? Do you Twitter?”

Stevens said social media skills are particularly important for jobs in tech business, sales, public relations and media.

That’s because social media networks provide cost-effective ways for companies to put out their message and provide information to people in a personal, one-on-one way, Van Rossum said.

“It’s marketing without the perception that you’re trying to market to someone,” Van Rossum said.

In non-marketing or PR jobs, Stevens said, social media skills are not as critical, but they can indicate to employers how technologically savvy an applicant is.

“They just want to know can you do it,” Stevens said. “It’s not a must-have.”

But that may change soon, according to Van Rossum.

Over time, he said, social media skills will become important to everyone — not just those in marketing and communications.

“Social media will become very accepted and even if you’re an IT person or an accounting person, long-term, you will need to be able to use social media and be able to communicate on behalf of your company,” Van Rossum said.

In the meantime, if you really love Tweeting and Facebooking, there are plenty of jobs requiring only that.

A sampling of job postings on Monster.com: “Social Media Ninja,” “Social Media Strategist,” “Director of Public Relations and Social Media” and “Conversation Manager.”

In Atlanta, the American Advertising Foundation is looking for a Social Marketing/Micro-blogging Campaign Manager, and Network Communications, Inc. in Lawrenceville seeks a Social Media Coordinator who can develop content for Facebook, Twitter and blogs.

These kinds of social media jobs began emerging about six months ago, Van Rossum said, and most of them are six to nine-month contract positions with companies looking to have a social media strategy set up for them.

This social media craze among employers is creating some complications for job applicants and employees, Van Rossum said, such as blurring the lines between personal and professional lives.

“Facebook pages aren’t about business, they’re about you as a person, but how people perceive you as a person will ultimately impact how they perceive the place where you work,” Van Rossum said. “It’s a very complicated challenge.”

Van Rossum’s advice to job applicants? Use social media to search for jobs and use your own Facebook pages and Twitter accounts to protect your “brand” image.

Van Rossum said his company uses Facebook, blogs and LinkedIn to advertise positions and “reach people where they are,” and that social media provides opportunities to show you’re an expert in your field by generating interesting content that will get you noticed by employers.