TikTok Resumes and Instagram portfolios: How college students are using social media to find jobs

College students are on social media pretty much every day but when it comes to their job search, more than a third said they don't use social media at all, according to a survey from College Pulse.

And we're supposed to be digital natives?!

“I don't get what the hype is around not doing social media. I think everyone should be on it,” says college senior and influencer Kahlil Greene. “It's the way of the future and, if you're not on it, you will be left behind.”

Kahlil Greene, student at Yale University, known as “The Gen-Z Historian” on Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn.Source: Kahlil Greene

Greene posted his first TikTok video on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2021, and the rest was history — literally. Studying the history of social change and social movements at Yale University, he took to TikTok to educate people about Black culture and little-known stories, and racked up 1.3 million views pretty quickly. Now with more than 500,000 followers across platforms (including Instagram and LinkedIn), Greene will be trading in his post-graduation plans to work in consulting for a job in public education.

“I think that's the thing that people don't realize, that social media is everywhere, and it's congruent with every lifestyle you want,” says Greene.

In today's working world, the tailored one-page resume and cover letter seem to be going by the wayside. Social media offers a way to stand out beyond the traditional recruitment process, whether or not you're an aspiring influencer.

In 2021, as many as 92% of companies use social media and professional networks to hire for jobs, according to social recruiting firm CareerArc.

“Having a resume is great, right, but everyone has LinkedIn,” says Korin Harris, a senior recruiter at Academia.edu. “So, fill it out.”

More From College Voices:
How do you land your first job out of college?
How to negotiate the salary for your first job offer
College students used Instagram to sell face masks and other products during the pandemic

For most jobs, there are data and accomplishments to be shared that recruiters like Harris want to see.

According to LinkedIn, three people get hired via the professional-networking platform every minute.

LinkedIn may be the go-to place for an online resume but it isn't your only option. Between Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube, the ways that social media can be used for networking, job searching and career-starting are endless.

Tony Bancroft, a nearly 35-year veteran of the animation industry, says he cannot overstate the importance of social media for personal branding. Bancroft boasts more than 114,000 followers on Instagram, having started an account in 2015 to share his illustrations and stay relevant in the industry.

Bancroft, who is also the program director of the Animation and Visual Effects program at Azusa Pacific University, says he always tells students: “Really curate the content that you put out there so that it's uniquely you.”

And his advice works.

From working on a Netflix short to commissioned pieces of art, Bancroft has watched a number of his students get contacted directly through social media for projects big and small. Creating a personal brand doesn't have to be scary, hard or time-consuming. You just have to be yourself. Consistent posts, a few follows and some direct messaging can go a long way to open doors.

The way that third-year film student Trevor Dunnigan sees it, “The only thing you can do is help your case.”

In fact, nearly half of employers say that they are less likely to call a job candidate for an interview if they cannot be found online — and that's just for office jobs.

A seasoned “gaffer” on film sets around Chapman University, Dunnigan often does the hiring as well. And “I don't get someone's business card. I get someone's Instagram,” he says.

With just a few taps around someone's profile, from their main feed to their followers' tab, Dunnigan can gauge: What is the caliber of productions that this person works on? How frequently do they work? Who do we both know?

Trevor Dunnigan, student at Chapman University, aspiring cinematographer.Source: Ian Lock

Instagram Stories can be especially helpful for candidates if you don't want to risk tarnishing your personal account or create a separate “professional” one. Post a 24-hour Story to thank your colleagues at the end of a project, or create a permanent Story Highlight to show off the finished projects. Located right under your bio and above your posts, Highlights are in the perfect place for your most valuable content.

“There's a drone company actually here in LA that I ended up applying [to] based on their Instagram Story,” Dunnigan says. Before hitting send, he remembers thinking: “You know what, the worst thing that could happen is that they don't get back to me.”

Dunnigan never did hear back from the company, though he's glad he applied. Had he not followed the company on Instagram, he would not have found the opportunity at all. And, you never know — maybe a job opportunity doesn't work out now, but it could lead to something down the road.

For Greene, too, his current favorite platform is Instagram, “just because it has everything that TikTok can do and more.”

No matter which social media platform you use, experts recommend following influencers and pages in your industry. Stay in the know. Introduce yourself to others. Ask questions. Social media can help recruiters discover you — and it can also help you discover them.

Makena Yee is a senior at the University of Washington, Seattle. Last year, she was one of just four TikTok “campus representatives” at the university.

“When TikTok first came out, people were like, 'Oh, TikTok is for weirdos,' or whatever, but I love TikTok because I thought it was hilarious,” Yee says. “One day I stumbled across this video that was like, 'Hey, if you want to work for TikTok, you should totally apply' … So I decided to take that risk.”

Even now that Yee's time as a TikTok rep has ended, her risk continues to pay off.

In May, Yee posted a 60-second video as part of the soft launch of the “TikTok Resumes” pilot program, which she says resulted in more than 15 job inquiries and about six requests for interviews. Some of the responses she got included: “Sending this TikTok to my team,” “Hire her!!!!” and “Way to lead by example for others.”

Makena Yee, a senior at the University of Washington and a former TikTok college representativeSource: Monica Yee

Within the first 48 hours of the pilot program's official launch in July, TikTok says users had already submitted 800 videos using #TikTokResumes in their captions.

From its start, as a short-form video app with built-in creation tools, TikTok had naturally created new ways for recruiters and potential recruits to discover talent and opportunities. The Resumes program just went one step further to allow job seekers to apply directly for jobs at companies like Chipotle, Target or Shopify.

The submission period is now closed — and Yee is keeping herself more than busy with school, multiple jobs and two Instagram blogs of her own — though the senior says she would definitely use her video resume again if a company was looking for creativity.

Anyone can use social media to their advantage by following a few simple tips:

1.      Embrace the tools. 500,000 followers ago, Kahlil Greene had no design experience. Now, he runs three popular accounts himself using the platforms' built-in features as well as design apps like Canva and Bazaart. Of course, you don't need to become a “Gen-Z Historian” in the way that Greene did to reach career success through social media. There are more free tools available that make career-building easier than ever before.

2.      Do your research. What can you do that would support what your dream company is already doing? Look for the company's social media accounts, find out what values you share and make it all part of your pitch. Your job search will be more successful if you know which platforms are most popular in your industry and can speak intelligently about a company in DMs, cover letters or interview situations.

3.      Make connections. Connecting with employers through social media demonstrates three important qualities: confidence, drive and open-mindedness. You may even be able to reach staff who wouldn't be involved in your recruitment otherwise. “I've personally messaged a lot of cinematographers and just asked little things here and there,” says Trevor Dunnigan. “A kid in film school who is super interested in [what they do] wants to hear about it, and they're gonna send you paragraphs.”

4.      Show off your achievements. Your people skills may be great, but securing that interview or official offer will require that you have the right job skills. Even if you are still gaining experience, post to your social media pages about what experience you do have while you figure out how to get more. Don't worry if you don't have a portfolio like Tony Bancroft's animation students, either; using social media to showcase your work in any industry, in any form, can get you noticed.

5.      Be yourself. “You're allowed to have a private life,” says Korin Harris. Stick to LinkedIn if you want to, as the recruiter does in her work, but do at least use LinkedIn. Employers aren't looking for a perfect human being but qualified candidates. Present yourself in the best way you know how.

It is never too late — or too early — to start building your social media brand.

CNBC's “College Voices″ is a series written by CNBC interns from universities across the country about getting their college education, managing their own money and launching their careers during these extraordinary times. Sydney Segal is a student at UC Berkeley and is currently an intern for CNBC's social media team. The series is edited by Cindy Perman.

News Related


Inflation and omicron are weighing on markets. Here's what to keep in mind

The “Charging Bull” statue at Bowling Green in New York's Financial District.Drew Angerer | Getty Images As the U.S. stock market is whipped by rising inflation and the new omicron ... Read more »

Student-loan forgiveness would mean everything to Latinx students stuck in a debt cycle

The amount of student loan debt in the United States is $1.8 trillion dollars — and counting. The price to get an education has never been more expensive. The student ... Read more »

Three ways to invest in your employees in 2022

Customer second, employees first. That is the adage of Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group. A Gallup report says employees who are engaged are more likely ... Read more »

Never mind how Omicron blows, no shortage of economic forecasts

(NYTIMES) – The Omicron variant of the coronavirus could be dangerous enough to disrupt the lives of virtually everyone on the planet. Or it could represent a blip in a ... Read more »

Transforming Asia's food system to tackle our food and climate crises

Technology could help the agri-food sector transform by bolstering climate resiliency and sustainable food production. If you want more of what you like to eat, it’s time to think and ... Read more »

Here's what a lot of college grads don't know about their first job offer

Throughout our lives as students, we work hard to get a good education that will lead us to a solid job and fruitful career. But we aren't prepared for what ... Read more »

You need at least $1 million saved to retire in these cities

Sporrer/Rupp | Image Source | Getty Images How much do you think you'll need to save for retirement? If you're in one of these major cities, the answer will be ... Read more »

These are the five best states for drivers in 2021

Commuting doesn't have to be a bad thing. Ohio ranked as the best state for drivers in 2021, according to a study by Bankrate. The best states for drivers include ... Read more »

Smart moves to make with your retirement portfolio before the end of the year

Cravetiger | Moment | Getty Images As you make your to-do list to wrap up the year, don't forget to include checking on your retirement portfolio. There are several moves ... Read more »

Making New Year's resolutions during Covid has paid off: Fidelity survey

Uwe Krejci | Stone | Getty Images New Year's resolutions can be easy to make and even easier to break, but having a goal can help keep you upbeat and ... Read more »

Crypto is the 'top contender' for correction, money managers say

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) – By many counts, 2021 was the year cryptocurrencies were finally embraced by institutions. Now those same money-managers say the asset class is ripe for a big ... Read more »

Figuring out these three budget numbers will help you pay off debt and save more for retirement in 2022

The start of a new year can be a great time to revisit your budget. Your first steps should be figuring out how much money you actually have and finding ... Read more »

Covid mortgage bailout is expiring. Here's what to do if you still can't pay

courtneyk | E+ | Getty Images Covid relief programs allowed millions of struggling Americans to pause mortgage payments, and many of those bailouts are now expiring, putting cash-strapped borrowers at ... Read more »

BlackRock, Goldman opt for China over more pricey India stocks

(Bloomberg) In a change of tone over the world’s two biggest emerging markets, global investors overseeing billions of dollars are slowly starting to favour China over India – reversing a ... Read more »

Inflation-proof gifts with your time and schmaltz

Consider the gifts of tech, travel and time, says the writer. (NYTIMES) If groceries, petrol or cars were any part of your budget this year, inflation has hit you hard. ... Read more »

Australia's $3.3 trillion pension pot reaps dividends with ESG

Australians are moving their money to reap not only benefits for society and the environment, but also their retirement savings. (BLOOMBERG) Responsible investing is paying dividends for Australia’s A$3.4 trillion ... Read more »

Investors snap up metaverse real estate in virtual land boom

A tower in Decentraland that Tokens.com hopes will generate revenue from leases and advertising. Digital realms may appear as cartoonish, gummy-coloured fantasy worlds, or digital applications of places we know. ... Read more »

Four keys that could unlock a better, more sustainable world

To reduce the world’s reliance on fossil fuels and reach net-zero emissions by 2050, global investments in clean energy must triple by the end of the decade, says the International ... Read more »

How much you'll need to invest to earn $35,000, $40,000 or $50,000 per year in interest for retirement

Living off your investment returns can help remove one of the biggest fears about life after leaving your job: Will my money outlast me? Once you decide how much you ... Read more »

Did you work from home this year? When you can claim the home-office tax deduction

Did your “Great Resignation” lead you to start a business or become your own boss this year? You may be able to write off the cost of your home office ... Read more »

This is how you can make the world a better place as you invest

With the range of investment opportunities offered by Prudential, investors can protect and grow their wealth while playing their part to leave a better world for the future. Our roles, ... Read more »

Making sense of insurance amid uncertain times

With a wide range of insurance policies available, it is vital to understand the differences before you commit. Insurance is crucial to better prepare for life’s uncertainties. Paradoxically, the wide ... Read more »

How much you can expect to get from Social Security if you make $30,000, $35,000 or $40,000 per year

The largest Social Security cost-of-living adjustment increase in decades is set to go into effect in 2022. The 5.9% pay bump was meant to help seniors cover the cost of ... Read more »

How a government shutdown would affect your Dec. 15 child tax credit payment

lisegagne | E+ | Getty Images Millions of American families with kids are set to receive the last of six advance monthly child tax credit payments Dec. 15. Yet, just ... Read more »

This millennial saved $100,000 and quit her marketing job by age 25. Here's how she did it

Having an emergency fund should be a cornerstone of household budgets. Experts commonly recommend you have at least three months of expenses in savings to handle unexpected setbacks. But how ... Read more »

The metaverse, crypto and EVs are among 2021's big tech winners

SAN FRANCISCO (BLOOMBERG) – When Americans gather around the Thanksgiving table this week, the blistering rally in technology, electric vehicles and crypto-related stocks is likely to be a part of ... Read more »

7 ways college students can help save the environment — and not go broke

The environment is one of the top concerns for Gen Z — even amid a pandemic. And, while some products that are billed as sustainable cost more, there are a ... Read more »

Fintech tools take the guesswork out of investing

The recent integration of Central Depository investment data to the SGFinDex further democratises financial planning for investors of all levels. When the pandemic hit last year, human resources executive Ms ... Read more »

If you don't get a 6% raise, are you taking a pay cut due to inflation? Here's what experts say

A worker helps a customer at the Presidente Supermarket in Miami on April 13, 2020.Joe Raedle | Getty Images Workers across the U.S. are wondering how rising inflation might be ... Read more »

Suze Orman: Can you afford to join the Great Resignation? Answer these 5 questions

Charnchai | iStock | Getty Images Working is not working out for a record number of us. According to federal data, the number of people quitting has never been higher ... Read more »

How much you need to invest per month to retire with $500,000, $750,000 or $1 million, broken down by age

Saving for retirement traditionally takes more than 40 years of work. Given that kind of time, investing a little extra cash every month can pay off exponentially in the stock ... Read more »

As inflation rises, here's where to find opportunities to make and save money

LeoPatrizi | E+ | Getty Images Rising inflation has Americans worried about purchasing power and their retirement plans. Yet there are some opportunities to make and save money in this ... Read more »

The 'Great Resignation' may help you land your dream job. What to know

Ben Hasty | MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle | Getty Images Thinking of quitting your job soon? It may help you find a better gig. Many Americans are leaving their current employers ... Read more »

Temasek offers Singapore retail investors rare opportunity to buy its bonds

SINGAPORE – Temasek Holdings launched a $350 million five-year bonds sale on Monday (Nov 15), part of which will be available for purchase by retail investors in Singapore. The state ... Read more »

Seizing Asia's investment moment in an increasingly multipolar world

To effectively position for Asia’s long-term opportunities, it is vital for business leaders and investors to understand the context and the dynamics of underlying trends in the region and how ... Read more »

Better to be smart than lucky

“I’d rather be lucky than be smart!” A lecturer in fund management for my Master of Science in Applied Finance course used to repeat this mantra in class. He used ... Read more »

How investors can have more say

Big index fund companies such as BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street and Fidelity are typically among the largest shareholders of publicly traded companies. Yet their ultimate owners – the millions of ... Read more »

Risk of having too much cash on flights in US

Travellers wait to drop their baggage at Miami International Airport in September 2021. (NYTIMES) – Odd-job worker Kermit Warren had about US$30,000 (S$40,600) cash on him when he flew from ... Read more »

Tips to avoid online shopping scams

A steady rise in online card fraud in recent years accelerated during the pandemic as more people shopped on the Internet. (NYTIMES) – You are expected to do much of ... Read more »

The money woes in Squid Game are real

In the hit TV series Squid Game, as in real life in South Korea, discrimination against women, the elderly and migrant workers is deeply entrenched, and many younger people find ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic