When I was first looking for a “real” job, it felt like it was taking forever for me to get anywhere. In my first year out of school, I was only able to secure an unpaid internship at a magazine while also working a temp job in a New York City leasing office. After just about a year, I finally got an entry-level position at a marketing firm’s extremely small New York branch — which ended after a quick six months, when my position was relocated to the company’s headquarters in another city. I was back to the drawing board, and decided out of necessity to begin my foray into freelance work. Considering that’s basically what I’ve been doing full-time ever since, I’m happy with the way that things worked out.
Looking back, a year spent looking for a foot in the door is really…not so bad. Sure, it’d be nice to have had something lined up right after my graduation. But that wasn’t something that was expected for English majors, and perhaps I could have tried to look a little harder while I was still in school.
I soon got used to the job application cycle, of course, and found that first marketing job through one of the free job boards (yes, that sometimes actually works!). But I think I wasn’t doing myself any favors by sticking with the one path I knew about. I would only look at the same few job posting sites every day, which inevitably meant that I’d be sifting through the same 10-20 posts over and over. I used LinkedIn sparingly, and only at the insistence of my parents, who of course wanted to see me succeed. I even met with a few of my parents’ colleagues, or colleagues of colleagues, who were, for the most part, extremely unhelpful with my end goal of just finding a damn job (not that my employment was in any way their responsibility).
I’d say the only thing I really liked about that first “real job” I had was that I was finally out of the cycle of constantly looking for work. But, because life is funny, looking for work became almost my full-time job again when I started freelancing. I now have multiple avenues where I look for potential new clients: regular job boards like Indeed, freelance platforms like Upwork, and good ol’ LinkedIn. I also know of plenty of writers who find work through Twitter, and it’s commonly known now that designers use spaces like Instagram and Pinterest to reach new clients. If you’re a freelancer, constantly looking for a job is just a part of your job.
In fact, it’s actually pretty common for a lot of people, including designers, brand managers, and social media specialists, to use their profiles on platforms like Instagram as their portfolios. We’re also used to seeing individuals interact with brands on social media for customer service or just basic PR. (I’d be lying if I said the one time California Pizza Kitchen tweeted at me didn’t send my heart racing.) But one thing I wasn’t aware of, until coming across this article on Quartz, was the fact that brands themselves are actually using platforms like Instagram as a recruiting tool:
In the superheated world of technology recruiting, having a presence on Instagram has become essential for companies looking to attract workers, who are eager for clues about potential employers’ offices, workers, and culture. At the same time, employers are using social media to examine a candidate’s, to determine whether they’ll fit in. “Instagram is the new LinkedIn,” Rachel Bitte, who heads human resources at Jobvite, a provider of hiring technology that works with 2,000 companies including Schneider [Electric], tells Quartz.
Not only are companies looking at potential candidates’ profiles, they are curating their own profiles to highlight their company culture (which is apparently more important than ever). Large companies that may not be household names now have a chance to appeal to a wider pool of candidates because they can use platforms like Instagram to show off what it’s like to work there. And their images aren’t even all workplace-related; according to Quartz, “Their photos show employees engaged in volunteering projects, doing yoga in exotic locations, and otherwise having a great time.”
Of course, companies are finding and appealing to employees through Instagram and using mobile apps for the hiring and recruiting process because they “are eager to connect with candidates through the technology those potential employees are most comfortable with.” And on platforms like Jobvite, the recruiting and hiring process is extremely fast:
Candidates can then click through to job application optimized for mobile, and upload a resume from LinkedIn, completing an applications in minutes. What about the hours spent laboring over a cover letter? “Cover letters are dead,” Bitte says.
Maybe my post-college self would have loved such a quick job application process, but it also seems like it may not be the most effective way to get the right person for a position. Just like you can’t really tell everything about a person from their social media profile, I’d also think you can’t tell everything there is to know about a company. I’m not sure seeing a bunch of employees doing yoga on a beach is going to tell me what I really need to know about working somewhere. But then again, social media is great for creatives to find projects — why can’t it also be great for those looking for full-time work?
What do you think? Would you be excited to work for a company that recruited you through Instagram? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Holly is the Managing Editor of The Financial Diet. Follow her on Twitter here, or send her your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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