When seeking creative opportunities, social media is an enormous resource just waiting to be tapped. On February 19th, a diverse range of speakers from different corners of the creative shared their stories at “Beyond Linkedin: Using Niche Social Media Platforms in the Job Hunt,” to share how online platforms such as Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Youtube, and Slideshare can offer ways to showcase your personalty and assist you in landing a job.
Read on for tips on standing out.
Care about the Conversation
The first step to productively engaging with an online community is finding something you’re passionate about. Angela Giacchetti, the NYC Marketing Manager at Eventbrite advises attendees, “don’t apologize for what you care about.” Her success story began when she used YouTube to openly advocate for a political cause she cared about. She promoted her self-made video by sending tweets to key influencers like local political representatives and campaign field organizers.
Industry influencers are people too; they recognized her bravery, enthusiasm and professionalism. After seeing her testimonial they reached back to her and set up a meeting to discuss the next step. Angela was hired into a fellowship program in nonprofit work and began a journey into her career. “Your voice should be honest and passionate. Care about the issues you comment on, it shines through,” she says. Everyone uses the Internet, you never know who will discover your talents.
Time it Right
Timing is everything. When the Arab Spring began to sweep over the Middle East in 2011, a “funemployed” Linda Dimyan began to tweet about the movement from home. As the social revolution unfolded, she continued to engage with people thousands of miles away. In a two-week period Dimyan sent out over 2500 tweets, and her tweets did not go unnoticed.
Linda’s activity on Twitter caught the attention of hiring managers at CNBC. She now serves as the Associate Producer for Mad Money with Jim Cramer. “Social media has changed the recruitment model,” she explains. Hiring managers turn to these channels and look to see what you can do. Dimyan shares that niche social media tools are “an opportunity to show people who you are outside of your cover letter and outside of your resume.” These tools can help you “show your personality.” So do just that, and “do your thing.”
Master the Hustle
Kevin Wang, a Junior Digital Strategist at BBDO New York says, “show don’t tell – do more than put a line or two on a resume. Think about the skills you have and how you can show potential employers those skills by truly demonstrating them, rather than just saying you have them.” The Internet is a canvas to put forth your best material. Kevin wanted to transition from working in the media department at an advertising agency to more a challenging role in strategy; however, he had just moved to New York and didn’t have a strong portfolio yet. He accepted the challenge of making this career leap by committing himself to producing something great.
Kevin spent two months developing a slide show (commonly referred to as a slide deck) to showcase his strategic thinking and work-place ready skill set. He created a presentation that focused on reviving the Amanda Bynes’ acting career. Spending nights and weekends working on a “slide deck” and treating the actresses’ reputation like a brand, allowed him to powerfully communicate his knowledge about branding, communication strategy, and organized thinking. The presentation gained traction on Slideshare, caught the attention of online recruiters and made its way around the Internet. He was offered a job at BBDO New York, where he happily works today. Kevin advises to show, don’t tell, build your reputation, and have high standards.
Content and Community
Sam Morrison, Video Production Manager at Kaltura, moved to Brooklyn after graduating college. With no job prospects, he spent time exploring New York, taking pictures on his iPhone. Sam captured a unique perspective of living in Brooklyn; he took Instagram photos to share his new and evolving relationship with the city.
After building up a following, (still with no job in sight), he reached out to his community for help with his job search. “[Your audience] is not just random user names or a random number of followers. These are people that actually care.” Fortunately, his outreach led to an informal interview that helped him find a job in video production.
Sam suggests to consistently produce content and make it easy for others to help you. He appreciates the support he found through his community of followers and influencers. Using niche social media has its benefits. “This [Instagram] isn’t a silly app,” says Sam, “this is an actual network.”
Whether the gig is silly or serious, Mr. GIF is pushing the .gif trend by helping brands, artists and event promoters bring their content to life. Creative, edgy and current, Jimmy Repeat and Mark Portilllio, the Founders & Creative Directors of Mr. GIF dropped some knowledge on event attendees by emphasizing the importance of being authentic.
“The big thing about social networks and the Internet is that one thing just leads to the next,” chuckles Repeat. With a strong work ethic and passion for the project you can do amazing things. From drawing comics to actively collecting clients, this duo is carving out a space for themselves in pop culture using Tumblr and Instagram. An overview of their career timeline in the last three years includes back stage photography sessions with Jimmy Fallon, sit-downs with Mark Ecko and an up-close look at New York Fashion week. “Don’t be shy to just ask. Use the access that social media networks give you to contact people you look up to and respect.”
Be an Early Adopter
Messing around on the Internet is something that Ryan Broderick, a reporter for Buzzfeed, has been doing for a while. Just a few years ago, Ryan made a video capturing the action of Occupy Wall Street. (He may or may not have wandered over the Brooklyn Bridge without a film permit and found himself having to talk himself out of some trouble). He reflects on the experience positively saying, to be the best social media reporter out there you may need to take extreme measures. His boldness and humor impressed the staff at Buzzfeed and he found himself hired as a community moderator.
Ryan’s advice is to not be upset if something you try fails, be authentic about what you share, and keep creating.
“The skills to use the social platform to its full potential will set you apart,” he said. Learn how the communities work and how to best use them.” Master the basics early and you’re ahead of the game.
Niche social media is a way for you to get your ideas, art and passions out into the world. Stick with the medium that works for you. Develop something you care deeply about or love to do and do it one hundred percent. If you are looking for a new opportunity, make sure to go out and meet like-minded people in real life. Reach out, connect and don’t be afraid to ask others for advice. Real connections are made offline and it is in your interest to meet people like you. Come out to FindSpark events to meet other young creatives. Whatever you like, there are others like you. In fact, there are companies out there who need you to help them be the best in the game, so be your best, go forth and find your niche.
Have any ideas or stories of your own? Please feel free to share your comments and thoughts below.