How does a customer-service expert in Seattle catch the attention of a hot San Francisco startup in San Francisco, 700 miles away? The answer these days is likely to involve networking and brand-building on social media’s “fun” sites — even the ones best known for their tweets, pokes and cat videos.

It’s been obvious since 2003, when LinkedIn was launched, that social networking could help job candidates and employers interact. LinkedIn’s commitment to this market is underscored by the 150 million career bios on its site — and the more than $260 million in revenue last year from businesses wanting extra ways of connecting with potential new hires.

But more playful sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Quora, and even Pinterest are turning out to be valuable tools for job-hunters, too. In May, I will be publishing “Becoming a Rare Find,” an e-book that explores today’s most effective new job-hunting techniques. Many involve online equivalents to networking at beach resorts or children’s soccer games. People may go online to banter. No matter; before long, they talk shop.

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