5 Secrets to Side Hustling as an Instagram Influencer

Hello, it’s Sophia, FindSpark fellow and avid Instagrammer.

It’s no secret that landing a job in a creative field is super competitive and setting yourself apart is everyone’s goal. So how exactly is an app going to help you land a job? I leverage my Instagram as an online portfolio and a way to make connections online that turn into real-life opportunities.

Here are five secrets that have helped me land creative roles:

Find your Workflow

If you’re like me, you’re probably plenty busy with classes, work, maybe hanging out with friends, and squeezing in those eight hours of sleep, the thought of a side hustle can be a little much. I’d be lying if I said working on my Instagram didn’t take time, but figuring out how to produce your content efficiently is key. To create my images, I use my iPhone to take photos, an editing app called A Color Story, and store all my hashtag groups in notes on my phone so they are ready to go when I’m set to post.

Say what you want to say

View this post on Instagram

Focus on who and what does it for you this week. 💪🏼⭐️🌟

A post shared by Sophia (@sophia.joan.short) on

Posting about topics that are important to you and finding a style took me a little time, but it’s a gamechanger. You might have heard being authentic is important, but if your page looks like everyone else’s, you won’t draw an audience or capture a future employer’s attention.

Know how to reach out

Brands look to work with you as a business partner, so if you want to work with a brand, my advice is to send a short, easy-to-skim email listing past collaborations and a brief explanation of why you want to work with their brand. If you don’t have many past collaborations just send them your best posts and ones that pertain to the area of their business.

While monetizing your Instagram is a cool step to explore later, a brand is more likely to work with you in exchange for the product especially if you are still growing your following and show that you are passionate about their product.

Here is an example of a message I sent to start a conversation with Big Mouth Inc.

Take your connections offline

Remember those brands I was talking about? While money is great (anyone else on a college student budget?), connections you can make at a brand can be much more valuable long-term for a job seeker. If you make contact with a person, it’s a great time to compliment them on their career and ask for advice, because you obviously love the brand they work for!

Here’s an example of a DM I sent that led to a phone call and resume critque:

Following a company’s career page is an awesome way to create another connection. I just landed a summer fellowship by following a PR firm’s page and beginning a conversation through Instagam DMs.

Work it into your resume and cover letter

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Kinda what it’s all about ❤️⭐️

A post shared by Sophia (@sophia.joan.short) on

This is your chance to show exactly what you’ve accomplished with your own account and creates a perfect segway into discussing why you’re a perfect fit for the role.

Here’s how I introduced my Instagram to FindSpark:

After spending the first part of my college career in a science-heavy curriculum, lots of time in labs, and leading Chemistry review sessions, while applying for an early admissions medical school program (here’s the overachiever in me peeking out!), I realized my goal of helping others was still alive, but I had little passion for a career in Medicine, so I switched to marketing. The change wasn’t totally on a whim-I’d been working on content and building a following for my personal Instagram, @sophia.joan.short. My personal Instagram has grown to 30k followers and I’ve worked with brands like Nespresso and Lou and Grey since October 2015.

And I list it on my page on my resume as follows:

@sophia.joan.short Instagram                                                      October 2015-Present

  • Create content and work as an influencer with brands for brands like Halo Top Ice Cream, Nespresso, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Health-ade Kombucha.
  • Reposted by brands like Free People and Vans.

Want to connect? Send me a DM on Instagram!

I’m not the only one that has used social media grow my network and further my career. Read how FindSpark member, Jasmine, used Instagram to land her dream internship.

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