Is "social media" on your resume?


Image via Gavin Llewellyn, (Flickr/Creative Commons).

12.12.2011: The bullets in this post have been updated to include the percentages of social media jobs (out of all jobs posted on Idealist) each year.

Fellow Idealist Jeremy and I recently ran a little test to see how frequently “social media” appears in job postings on our site. Here’s how many listings have included the phrase over the last several years:

  • 2007: 25 jobs, o.01 percent.
  • 2008: 125 jobs, 0.27 percent.
  • 2009: 507 jobs, 1.67 percent.
  • 2010: 2,115 jobs, 4.98 percent.
  • And in 2011 so far, 3,467 jobs, or 7.7 percent of all jobs posted this year.

Curious what the very first jobs to include “social media” were? Reaching all the way back to November 2006, we found four jobs from three trailblazing organizations: a Content Producer at WGBH Educational Foundation; a Social Network Designer-Manager at Games for Change; and two web developer jobs at Feminist Majority Foundation.

When I was hired in 2006, there are at least a few people on staff who were creating social media, but I don’t think they would have called it that. For example, our editor Eric checked all of the copy on our site, but he also served as a curator of news about the nonprofit sector and posted articles from around the world every day. He was blogging before we had a blog. Now social media weaves naturally into the jobs of many folks here, whether they’re writing emails for multi-channel campaigns, blogging here, or using social networking sites to learn about and grow our community.

Questions for you, dear readers:

  • What has this evolution looked like at your organization? Is your organization so new that the majority of your work takes place through social media, or have you spent a lot of time convincing people of the value of this type of engagement?
  • Are blogs, social networking sites, and other social media included in your job description? How much of your work time do they consume?
  • If you’re a hiring manager posting one of those 3,400+ jobs, what matters to you with regard to filling those roles? How do the best candidates showcase their experience in this area?

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Comments (12)

  1. Ryan writes:
    December 6, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I’ve always appreciated my ability to efficiently sift through the numerous social apps on my iPhone. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. […] entry in another blog and thought it may be of interest to you… for the complete post visit posted by Julia Smith on December 6, 2011 Filed under: Careers and Featured and Online Tools and […]

  3. mnt writes:
    December 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Doesn’t this also reflect a simple increase in the number of total posts?

  4. Idealist writes:
    December 8, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Excellent question. It would seem that way, but let’s just take 2008 as an example. We saw a significant drop in job postings due to the economy overall, but continued to see the number of listings with “social media” climb. Make sense?

  5. Elke writes:
    December 8, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    How can I list my social media skills if most of them are from my personal activities rather than in a job?

  6. Ben writes:
    December 9, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Colin’s resume seminar had a point relevant to this thread. Remember that your resume is tailored to the specific job. If a job is looking for social media skills, then your personal activities on social media are likely to be valuable. They are also likely to be assessed!

    There are certainly jobs where highlighting the amount of time you spend online will not be to your benefit. An example: my brother is a hiring partner at his law firm and told me of a recent Harvard Law graduate who submitted a resume that included his team leading skills based on having lead a WOW guild. My brother was very clear that he didn’t have an issue with gaming itself but that its inclusion on the resume suggested that the person might think that such topics were appropriate in the business setting, having brought them up in a business setting, and therefore couldn’t be trusted with the firm’s clients. When you are highlighting your excellent skills, demonstrate your discernment with what you choose to include on your resume.

  7. Andrew writes:
    December 9, 2011 at 6:16 pm


    Following from mnt’s comment – couldn’t we just normalize the data? (i.e. What percentage per year cite social media?)


  8. Idealist writes:
    December 12, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Done and done. See the edits to the post above (and thanks to my colleague Jeremy for quickly putting those numbers together). -Julia

  9. Bea Westrate writes:
    December 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Is there any way to post this on Facebook and Twitter, plus send this to Linked In? I couldn’t find that info, which is ironic.

  10. Idealist writes:
    December 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Ironic indeed. It’s on our developers’ ever-growing list. Do you have favorite sharing buttons on any blogs that I should show them as an example? Which sites make it easiest for you? – Julia

  11. […] 2011, we noticed something interesting at Idealist: social media jobs comprised 7.7% of all jobs listed, up from .01% just four years earlier. Of course, this growth is not unique to Idealist; more […]

  12. […] 2011, we noticed something interesting at Idealist: social media jobs comprised 7.7% of all jobs listed, up from .01% just four years earlier. Of course, this growth is not unique to Idealist; more […]

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