Can Instagram Land You a Job?

Social media has significantly changed the recruiting world.

While it’s OK to post fun photos that don’t relate to your career, remember, in some industries, especially creative fields and the visual arts, including journalism, copywriting, photography, design, advertising, and marketing, Instagram is an ideal platform to present your work. The next time you post, remember: recruiters are using Instagram to locate potential candidates.

Can Instagram Land You A Job

Your brand is your story

Instagram can absolutely help you land a job as long as you know what you’re seeking, and what you’re selling, says Carlota Zimmerman, a career strategist. “If you’re simply on Instagram, posting endless photos of brunch and your dog and funny memes: no. That’s not a brand, that’s killing time. And that's okay! But don't kid yourself: photos of your baby and Taylor Swift do not a career make.”

Apply these tips to make your account an extension of your resume:

1. Check Your Profile

Ask someone whose opinion you respect to view your profile and tell you what he or she learned. Your account should reflect your education, expertise and commitment to your industry. “Does your profile, for example, tag the big companies you've worked for, or the schools you attended?” Zimmerman says. If using Instagram for fun, then consider a personal account that’s locked down “because we all share the same Internet.”

2. Create Your Brand

Social media handles are the new business cards so make sure your account reflects the personal brand you want to project to employers, says Andrea Serie, marketing consultant for Double Down. Digital. Use your account to showcase your persona and visual story telling. “Are you artsy? Are you funny? What type of work are you passionate about? Your posts should reflect your work as well as your personality. Be cautious about posts that showcase partying or too much sex appeal…it will only work against you,” she says.

3. Be Authentic and Strategic

Your brand is your story, your passion and how you present to the world. How you present yourself is how you’ll be perceived. “This goes triple for people of color,” says Zimmerman. “So think of Instagram as a way to further establish your credentials. What is the industry you’re attempting to break into? Follow the trend-setting people, businesses and other industry-related accounts. What conversations are they having?”

4. Showcase Your Work

Don’t make your account private as it makes people wonder what you have to hide. Share short clips of your work—Instagram allows up to 59 seconds of video, and connect your Instagram account to your website or blog.

5. Follow Targeted Companies

If there is a company you want to work for, follow all of their social media accounts. “Be sure to engage on their posts with smart, concise comments,” says Serie. “If their social media team is responsive, ask questions that reflect you are an out-of-the-box thinker who pays attention to what is happening at their company. Over time, the social media team will start to recognize your account. Be mindful to be tactful and not a social stalker.”

6. Communicate Through Direct Message

DM is the new email. Send your elevator pitch about what you’re looking for in a DM. The DM should be concise and to the point, says Serie. “Perhaps you can even offer your services on a specific initiative or for an allocated period of time pro bono to create an opportunity for yourself. This shows you are willing to provide value first before getting anything in return. This truly illustrates that you stand behind your work product.”

7. Share Industry Goals

Identify your goals within your industry and work backward to see if your account reflects your industry’s priorities. Check to see if your account is professional, interesting, intelligent and relevant, says Zimmerman. “Does it demonstrate your zeal for your field? Joan Didion famously said, ‘We tell ourselves stories in order to live.’ What story are you telling the world about your ambition, and your expertise? If you yourself are not sure, odds are that neither is anyone else."

8. Use Tags and Hashtags

Tag relevant photos and videos to a company or industry related to your expertise. By illustrating your services and products recruiters can see if you are a good fit. Just don’t get carried away.

There are 700 million users on Instagram. That number includes companies and recruiters who can easily hire you. Give them ample reasons to say, “You’re hired.”

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