Have you exhausted the typical social networking sites in your job hunt? Try something that's still a little outside of the box: Pinterest. The visual pinning board site gets more than 11 million unique visitors a month, according to the Internet-monitoring firm comScore, and it's great for search engine optimization, which improves a website's visibility.
What that means for you as a job seeker is: You'll stand out. While everyone else is submitting the usual Word doc resumes, you have the opportunity to build a dynamic, creative platform to sell yourself visually as a job candidate.
Take Jeanne Hwang. She's trying to get a job with Pinterest, and has built a page on the site that highlights her knowledge and experience on the subject. And her efforts are working: She's accumulated followers on a variety of social platforms just from her unusual approach to wooing a company for which she wants to work.
If you're in a visual industry, such as photography or design, Pinterest is ideal for displaying your work portfolio. Organize your boards into categories to make them easy to scan, such as Websites, Logos, and Marketing Collateral, for a graphic designer.
Pinterest Resumes for Any Profession
You don't have to want a job at Pinterest to have it work for you, nor do you have to be in a visual field, says Brie Reynolds, manager of social media and content for FlexJobs. Even if you're not in a creative industry, simply creating a visual version of your resume can help you stand out in a sea of templated resumes. Reynolds suggests creating a Pinterest board mapping your career. "Include pictures of places you've worked, colleges/schools you've attended, organizations for which you volunteer, and other useful info. Think of ways in which your career can be represented in picture form, and then go out and find those pictures," says Reynolds.
Getting The Most Out of Pinterest for Job Seekers
You'll get the hang of using Pinterest quickly, but make sure you add your own text to any images you pin. Say, for instance, you pin someone else's photo of social media icons to demonstrate that you're savvy in social marketing. Add your own comment when repinning an image, such as: "Five years' experience managing clients' social media platforms." This helps anyone skimming your Pinterest page determine how these images relate to your job experience.
Consider sticking to images that relate to your career. It's tempting to pin fashion or fun photos, but if you're using Pinterest to appeal to employers, don't dilute your efforts with unprofessional images. Save them for after you get the job.
Reynolds says it's a good idea to use Pinterest in addition to what you're already doing on your blog or website. If you use other social media sites, add a Pinterest icon with a link to your page so that visitors can find your profile easily.
The trick with using Pinterest is educating employers on how to view the site as another dimension of you as a job candidate. When crafting your cover letter, include a link to Pinterest with a brief explanation of how it relates to your application.
And remember: Pinterest is a social media platform. The more people you introduce it to, the more likely you are to be found by a potential employer.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.