That's a Real Job?

That's a Real Job?
5 careers you might not have heard of
By Anthony Balderrama, writer

One of the many unfortunate effects of the Great Recession was felt by longtime professionals who found themselves looking for a job for the first time in decades. These skilled and experienced workers discovered that the job market was significantly different than it was 20 years ago, or in some cases, even just five years ago.

A shift in public demand can create new jobs or cause others to fade away. Technology also plays a significant role in the evolution of career opportunities, as some of today's jobs (think Internet security) couldn't have existed 40 years ago. The job industry has a natural give and take that permanently removes certain jobs and creates other. For instance, within the manufacturing industry alone, you can witness a shift from one emphasis to the other. Once upon a time, turntables and large console stereos were being built in droves because they were found in every home. Today, digital music players and music-playing phones are being churned out for music lovers. The production is still there, but the job titles changed.

Now, as you try to find the right career, you just don't recognize some of these job titles. In order to simplify your job hunt and perhaps realize where your skills can be put to good use, we've put together a list of five jobs that many job seekers don't recognize but that are real opportunities. In some cases, the jobs are relatively new, while others are just often overlooked.

Here are five careers you've probably never heard of:

Social media managers / social media strategists

Industries: Technology, public relations and communications

What they do: Social media have emerged in the past six years as a serious player in the business world. Although MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare began as ways to kill time or connect with friends, they have become essential extensions of a company's brand. Social media managers and strategists help organizations understand how to use social media to connect with customers, what messages they should be conveying and how to measure success. Social media experts can be part of a marketing campaign that is promoting a new ad campaign online or they can be liaisons who interact with customers and present feedback to managers and company leaders.


Industry: Library and information sciences

What they do: Cybrarians are exactly what the name implies: librarians for the 21st century. Cybrarians have the same research and data gathering skills of traditional librarians, but they apply that knowledge to online technology. They are experts in accessing online information and using the latest technology to conduct research. (Many libraries and research centers do not distinguish between the two, as many traditional librarians have the same education and technology skills as a cybrarian.)

Risk management specialists and managers

Industries: Finance, technology and insurance

What they do: Risk management professionals look at specific projects or initiatives, assess the potential damage that could occur to any involved parties and set plans for dealing with it. Although that description is vague, it can be applied to a variety of industries. In one setting, a risk manager might estimate the cost of a natural disaster and what the financial repercussions would be. In the technology sector, a risk manager can look at computer safety issues, such as data leaks or security flaws.

Patient advocates

Industry: Health care

What they do: Patient advocates work for patients who need assistance understanding the often confusing world of medical bills and treatments. They educate patients on their rights and ensure they are consulting with the proper specialists. They also help patients sort through medical bills and keep important items in order.


Industry: Science and social sciences

What they do: Simply, futurists are the opposite of historians. Futurists predict how an industry, consumers or even nature might change over time. They use research and case studies to understand what is happening today and then attempt to figure out what will happen in the coming years. Futurists are employed by many organizations, from an educational institution to a corporation wanting to create a business plan that is ahead of consumers' demands.

Bing: The most unusual jobs

Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for and its job blog, The Work Buzz. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow him on Twitter at