By Debra Auerbach
The social networking site Pinterest seems to be all anyone can talk about these days, including me. This "Virtual Pinboard" allows users to create pinboards on any topic they want and pin things they find interesting onto said boards. Users can browse pinboards created by other users, re-pin their images or follow them to see all of their pins.
Naturally we were intrigued by Pinterest and wanted to explore it from a job-seeker perspective. While the site is still relatively new - and we're still learning new things about it ourselves - we wanted to share some ways we found to use the site during a job search.
You can use it to:
1. Discover your passions.
Perhaps you're a job seeker who is just starting out, or maybe you're a workforce veteran but are looking to change careers. Let's say you're pursuing a job in architecture; you can go to the architecture category on Pinterest and get inspired by the different images you find. Or if you aren't sure what you're truly passionate about, you can browse through the different categories - ranging from women's apparel to photography to art. If you are drawn to a certain category and keep going back for more, perhaps that's an industry worth exploring for your next job.
2. Get the facts.
Pinterest can be used to find information about any topic under the sun. Not only do people post images, but they also post articles, infographics and how-to videos. If, for example, you're interested in social media jobs, you can type in "social media trends" in the search box and related pins/boards/people will pop up in your results. If you're a recent or soon-to-be college graduate, you can check boards from The National Association of Colleges and Employers to find relevant employment statistics. Or head to CareerBuilder's infographics board for economy and job-related facts.
3. Build a portfolio.
If you're in a creative or design-related field, Pinterest is a great place to build your portfolio without having to develop your own website. You can create a board showcasing your design work or pin your visually-appealing resume. It's an easy way to share links with potential employers, and it also shows that you're up on the latest social media and networking trends. One note of caution: Pinterest can't be used solely to sell yourself or your products; therefore, you'll need to diversify your pins by including other non-personal images or ideas that inspire you.
4. Find and investigate prospective employers.
One of the frequent tips we give is to research potential employers before applying and interviewing by visiting their websites and social media pages. Since more and more companies are joining Pinterest, you should add it to your list of places to research and connect with prospective employers. If appropriate, you may even want to mention something you saw on their Pinterest boards during an interview, i.e., "I saw that you pinned a picture from your recent all-staff kick-off meeting on Pinterest. Can you tell me more about that meeting?"
5. Put together interview outfits.
It's important to dress professionally and appropriately for an interview, and you shouldn't necessarily take a one-outfit-fits-all approach for each job. Before "suiting up," you'll want to consider how traditional the company is, the type of dress code they enforce and even who it is you're meeting with. To get inspiration, create a board under either the women's or men's apparel sections and pin different suits, tops, accessories or outfit ideas that are interview-appropriate. One place to look? CareerBuilder's women's and men's fashions boards include outfit ideas for interviews as well as the workplace.
A couple of notes on using Pinterest:
You have options for accessibility and privacy. On Pinterest, you can choose to link to your Facebook and Twitter pages and personal or professional websites. The site also offers the option of having your pins show up in your Facebook Timeline. If you do attach your Pinterest account to your other personal pages, remember that employers research candidates via their social media sites. So be sure to keep your profiles and pins professional and set privacy settings accordingly. If you don't want your Pinterest profile to be easily found, there are instructions in Pinterest's help section on how to prevent your account from appearing in Google search.
It's highly addictive. While Pinterest can be a great resource during your job search, it's easy to spend hours upon hours exploring its endless abundance of pins. One way to stay productive? Allow yourself 10-15 minute "Pinterest breaks" in between your other job-search tasks.
Now go forth and pin away!
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