Instagram may be the platform you use as a source of inspiration, education, or entertainment. Likely – it’s a source of all three, and when you think of the types of people you follow, you’ll be able to identify what it is that keeps you engaged.
While it’s fun and entertaining, there’s something else that you can use Instagram for: finding a job. Whether that’s finding a full-time or part-time job, freelancing gigs, or seasonal work, there are many opportunities available through Instagram when you look for them.
When thinking about social platforms – LinkedIn comes to mind for professional connections and your job search, but there are a lot of people and even brands that aren’t all that engaged in the platform and don’t use LinkedIn to promote hiring. On top of that, you may not be following or engaging with the right people or your favourite brands on LinkedIn.
That’s where Instagram comes in. It’s a place to connect you with people, brands, and opportunities that you can relate to in a less formal environment. There are a few ways that you can find jobs through the app and how the app can support your career endeavours and, when done right, can help you create the career of your dreams.
1 – Show Who You Are
Use your Instagram to showcase who you are, your skills and talents, and the things you’re passionate about. Authenticity is key to standing out, rather than just imitating what other people are doing. Also, use your platform to create a portfolio. This lets your audience and others who find your account know what exactly it is you do. This way, if someone comes across your account, they know what you are capable of and may directly reach out because they see potential.
Some questions to think about as you brainstorm and plan out your content:
• What am I passionate about?
• What am I interested in?
• What types of jobs am I pursuing and how could that tie into what I post? (For example, if you wanted to pursue photography, post the best photos that you’ve taken, and put your career goals out there with your captions)
• Is my current content letting people know I have a skillset in a particular area?
Also, it’s important to note that when you apply for jobs – if you choose to put your social handles on your application, keep those jobs and brands in mind with your posts. Will they connect with what they see and will it compel them to want to get to know you better?
Using your platform as a portfolio and as a place that showcases who you are doesn’t mean that your feed has to look perfect, but do your best to have clear images, write meaningful captions, and try your best to be as authentic.
2 – Follow your Favourite Brands
Some companies will announce that they’re hiring on Instagram and sometimes even advertise exclusively on social media. Send a DM to the brand expressing your interest in working with their team, and maybe if they do post their job opportunities on social, they’ll let you know. Building relationships with the brand can be beneficial in the long run because you never know who’s running their social media accounts.
For example, I follow Smash & Tess (and their founder Ashley Freeborn), as well as Jillian Harris, and I have applied to a few jobs through their callouts on Instagram.
3 – Make Connections
Get connected with the people who work at the brands you love and become recognizable. The individuals that you will want to connect with will depend on a couple of things – the department of the company you want to work in, the size of the company, and the influence that person may have on your future career.
It’s a great idea to stay connected with those key people through messages, likes, and engaging with their content through comments. If you decide to apply to that company, you could ask them questions about their brand and let them know you’ve applied, either through comments or messages. They might just be in a position to help you move further along in their hiring process. If you’re not able to find anyone quickly on Instagram, head to the company’s LinkedIn page or website and find out who works there – then decide from there who might be worthwhile connecting with on Instagram.
For example, if you want to work for a start-up, connecting with the founder or an employee that has been there from the start will be helpful.
4 – Don’t Forget Small Businesses
Follow and build relationships with smaller brands/shops, start-ups, and other freelancers because they might be looking for people to work small events, or contribute to short-term, projects. These opportunities may not lead to full-time work with those individuals/brands but will get you more experience and open yourself up to more possibilities. In some cases it may lead to a long-term partnership of some kind.
For example, maybe you’ll eventually become the in-house photographer, or a social media contractor for their brand.
5 – Reach Out
If you know there’s someone (whether it be a small business, start-up, freelancer, etc.) that could benefit from what you have to offer, reach out to them! Send them a direct message with your pitch, how you think you could help them, and why you are qualified to do so. If you’re not currently following any businesses/business owners, you should be. This will also give you more exposure and have them potentially reach out to you directly as well. Be sure to build a relationship with them first so that there is trust and authenticity there when you do send them a pitch!
For example, if you see that a small business owner is becoming increasingly busier and more popular and you have experience with being a virtual assistant, you could send them a message on Instagram outlining how you would make their life easier and help them with their business.
Instagram is a place for creativity, expression, and connection, and while you may use the app for fun and entertainment reasons, keeping your career in your mind will definitely be to your advantage! You can open yourself up to different connections and opportunities when you look at Instagram this way.
Would you like to strategize how to use your social media as a career tool? Book a virtual career meeting with Christie. These meetings will help you gain clarity on how to get the career you want! Christie will also give you support with your cover letter, resume and LinkedIn profile and walk through how they can work together to achieve your career goals.
By Jenna Yeomans – Jenna is a marketing grad based in Hamilton, ON with a passion for storytelling, creativity and supporting small businesses.