Instagram might not be something that immediately springs to mind as you embark upon your job search.
‘Isn’t that what LinkedIn is for?’ I hear you cry.
Well, yes – LinkedIn is a powerful tool for your average job seeker, but many overlook their Instagram account and brands’ pages in their search for work. Whilst Facebook has lost some of its appeal, Instagram remains massively popular, making it the focus for many brands – brands with roles that might appeal to you.
Now, I am not going to profess to being an expert in this area – in fact, you the reader are no doubt a much more proficient user of Instagram than I will ever be. However, I was totally inspired by a colleague from Careers at Southampton Solent University when she spoke at a regional conference recently. She herself claimed to be no expert, but the idea of using Instagram for job searching, both for research, networking, job seeking and even self-promotion was all new to me, and there were some fantastic nuggets of wisdom that I just had to share with the students here at Reading.
One thing I did already know about Instagram was that it is a popular way to connect. Whilst all users probably do so on a social level and understand the basic idea of sharing photos via the platform, many will overlook the potential that this networking space offers. Users also follow brands – and this can open up opportunities to engage with potential future employers in a way you might not have considered in the quest for your dream job.
So, whether you are new to Instagram, or already ‘gramming like a pro, here are our top tips to utilising this platform for your job search:
To find jobs on Instagram, utilise hashtags. This is a fantastic way to uncover companies and jobs that you haven’t already encountered. As a starting point try:
You could also search the top hashtags for the field you want to work in and industry keywords.
- Research companies
Research companies and the people in them. Organisations that are using the platform will choose images that portray who they are and what they do, particularly their company’s values. You might want to ask yourself as you browse:
- Does their account ring true – do the images mirror what their website says about their culture and ethos?
- Do the images portray a company you would want to work for?
- Can you picture yourself in those images?
Researching on Instagram can be a valuable tool to help you find a company that will be a good fit for you. Remember to note anything that might be useful in the interview process if you choose to proceed with an application. If you can show you are familiar with their team and work at interview, it shows you took the time to research.
Instagram is a networking platform. Use this! Chat professionally with employers. Try finding relevant groups that will help you in your career and search and explore for similar profiles. Use hashtags to help link with people with similar interests.
If you want to get noticed by employers on Instagram, you will need to be active. That means follow employers of interest, like their posts and be brave – comment to show you are engaged in their content but remember to be professional. Take this a step further by tagging them in your own relevant images too.
If you can find names of employees on posts, why not try connecting with them on LinkedIn? Equally, if you have connected with a potential employer on LinkedIn, interact with them on Instagram too! Employers want to employ people that want to work for their brand, so show them that their brand is the one for you.
- Personal branding
If you want to take utilising Instagram in your job search to the next level, you might like to consider what happens when the tables are turned. What if an employer looks at your account? Many employers will take a look at potential candidates on social media so it could be important to consider the impression you could make. If you have something worth seeing, it is also a good idea to ensure potential employers can find your account too. Remember, users can have multiple accounts, so you might want to consider the possibilities:
- One for personal use
- One for your CV (more to follow on Instagram CVs!)
- One to use as a portfolio of your work
Now the last two may not be suitable for everyone – but if you want to work in a media or creative space, these could be ideal ways to showcase your skills and work. Remember to set these up as ‘public’ so that potential employers will be able to see it.
Creating quick, easy, and effective posts using one of the hundreds of templates available is a great way to start and will help you build your brand. If you look at company pages, some of the most effective are those who stick to a style (colours, font, filters used etc.) so consider this if you want to follow this route of self-promotion.
- Showcase you
Anyone can use Instagram to showcase their work and skills, but this will be of particular benefit to those hoping to work in a media or creative space. Firstly, sell yourself in the bio section – you have 150 words, so choose carefully! Use your Instagram account (or one specifically set up for this purpose) to go behind the scenes of your work and engage an audience in what you do. Share what excites you and use Instagram Highlights as a tool to promote any features potential clients or employers should see, remembering to stick to career-related photos. To extend your reach beyond followers, get creative with Instagram reels too.
If you want to go a step further, you can use an account for an Instagram CV. It certainly impressed me and inspired the writing of this blog post! Firstly, build your creative CV and save as an image. This may take some time, particularly as you may want to think about how this may be divided and what you might like each section to portray. Next, by downloading a free app such as 9Cut Insta, Giant Square, Photo Split or 9Square, you can divide your CV into 9 (or more) images, then simply post each on Insta, one at a time. The result can look impressive. I’ve included a couple of examples including hire.georgina.reid and hireankitachawla. Each Instagram CV is designed to be interactive – so by clicking on an image you are offered further information in the comments section.
I hope I have managed to offer a little inspiration to use Instagram in your job search – and I’d love to hear from you (email@example.com) if you successfully use Instagram to secure a job! If you need help with your job search, you can make an appointment with one of our Career Consultants using MyJobsOnline.
Head of Careers Information and Events