Some people who follow developments in social media expect salaries to increase as demand continues to rise. Others predict the opposite, that eventually most employees will be expected to use social media, so the position will fold into more traditional jobs. Already social media has changed the face of public relations, with communications and marketing specialists increasingly using online tools to spread the word about their clients' services.
How can you get ahead of fellow job seekers when it comes to landing these positions? Here are a few tips:
Build a quality following on popular social networking sites. Not only does it demonstrate your ability to use the tools, a company may also see your following as a base for their own network, says Mashable's Ostrow. "You're providing the employer an asset beyond yourself. You're providing an audience you're bringing with you."
Include social media skills on your resume. Don't make the mistake of thinking everyone knows how to use Twitter strategically or create a video that goes viral on YouTube. Even if you're not looking for a position specifically in social media, those skills will make you more marketable. As Brad Karsh, president and founder of JobBound , a career consulting company, says, "If you have the word 'digital' in your job title, people are fighting over you."
Showcase your skills beyond building an online following. Creativity plays a big role in social media, so look for outside-the-box ways to prove your value. Create a video resume and upload it to YouTube. Start a Twitter chat around one of your professional interests. Or use Facebook ads to reach hiring managers at companies where you want to work. Using online tools in smart, fresh ways will help you catch the eye of a potential employer.
Take on social media responsibilities at your current job or volunteer to gain experience. Brooks Thomas, a former television news producer who lives in Dallas, helped grow his station's social media presence even though it wasn't part of his job description. "I kind of realized I enjoyed doing that more than my actual job," he says. He later used that experience to land a gig with Southwest Airlines as an emerging media coordinator, a position he first heard about through Twitter.