Using Pinterest as a Job Search Tool

You may have heard of Pinterest and may even be using it to show friends and family all the cool stuff you have found on the Internet. But did you know that you can use Pinterest as a job search tool? Many hiring managers continue to be overwhelmed with a landslide of resume submissions, and they are relying on you, the jobseeker, to make yourself stand out as a job candidate. Here are some ways to use Pinterest as a career portfolio to do this:

Designers and Artists: Showcase your work on a Pinterest board. The advantage over a physical portfolio is that not only is the storage space much larger, but you can better control the layout of your work. You can give a “whole story” snapshot of your design process — all on one board. While I’m no designer or artist, I used Pinterest to land a job offer at the Parsons New School for Design by adding the urls for my specific Pinterest boards that showed my “eye for design” when it came to shoes, evening apparel and accessories.

Teachers: Post a YouTube or Vimeo video on a Pinterest board so that prospective employers can check out your teaching style and creative use of multimedia to get your learning points across to your students.

Health Care Workers: Set up a Pinterest board that provides information on a specific health topic. You can create a video, PowerPoint slideshow presentation and links to web sites and online documents on a health topic.

Fundraisers: Share your past fundraising experiences in the form of colorful graphs. Use the Pinterest Help tools to get started.

Musicians and Actors: Post video clips of recitals, plays, movies and auditions.

Corporate Types: Post videos and pictures of what you did during company-approved sabbaticals for volunteer activities. Unpaid activities are still considered part of your overall experience by potential employers.

Higher Education Professionals: Post videos and pictures of events you planned and implemented such as career fairs, speaker panels, Greek Life events and Freshman orientation.

Your use of Pinterest as a job search tool is only limited by your creativity. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

*Make sure you include your Pinterest board urls in your cover letter and a “Social Media” section on your resume. This is the one time I advise repeating information in your cover letter that is already on your resume. Even though a hiring manager may ask for a cover letter, it does not always get read.

*You can limit your boards so that only certain people can see them. However, a hiring manager will have access to all of your unlimited access Pinterest boards, so be careful what you put on them, especially the humor and fashion boards.

*You must understand what is proprietary information before posting it on Pinterest. If your company owns the intellectual property rights or photograph copyrights of your work, you should get permission to post them on Pinterest.

*Be careful about posting pictures and videos with other people in them. Not everyone wants their picture on the Internet.


So Why Teach Music?

I used to work at a college that started out as a music conservatory. The college now has a music school well-known for pedagogy and foundations in music performance. Many of my music students were so excited about what they were learning and the skills that they were acquiring, that they could not wait to graduate to go out and find jobs as performers. Performing, not teaching. However, most of us career professionals know that there are far more gifted performers than there are jobs out there for them.

One alternative career or supplement to performing is teaching. Those students who were so excited about performing weren’t always so enthused about teaching. But teaching can provide a steady income, whether through a community school, K-12 school, college or an independent studio. It can also give musicians different insights on a piece of music, how people learn differently and help them increase their professional network. A larger professional network can lead to more paying gigs. A portfolio career, one where you hold two or more jobs in a given career field, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can earn money doing one job that can lead to making even more money in another job in your portfolio career. The money keeps rolling in, and you keep developing your career.

You are also helping your music students in several ways. You are passing on knowledge about music that your students may not be learning in school. More school districts are cutting music from the curriculum. However, that is not an excuse to skip teaching music. It is a very good reason to consider teaching. Studies have shown that learning music also helps improve students’ reading, math and foreign language skills. Learning music also gives students a way to express themselves and to describe the world they see around them through singing and playing instruments. You also develop future audiences when you share your music knowledge, thereby keeping music performance alive. Teaching music is a way to participate in that village described by Hillary Clinton — as in it takes a village to raise and educate a child. In short, it is a way to give back to your community and to “pay” your knowledge forward by sharing it. 

No Internship? Now What?

As we power through a hot 4th of July weekend, there are probably some students out there who are wondering what to do if they did not get that coveted summer internship. Not to worry; there is still time to gain experience this summer. Here are a few internship alternatives and strategies to try:

*Call around to the places where you did not get chosen as an intern. Not all hires are a good fit for an internship, and while it does not happen all that often, some interns will leave or get fired before the end of the internship. This leaves the placement without an intern, and you may be able to step right in. You may worry about getting any credit when you start an internship part way through the summer. Take the internship anyway if you are lucky enough to get it. Your school may allow you to sort out the credits later. Even if it doesn’t, you still get the experience, and many students find an evening paid position while interning so that they still make money for school.

*Take an alternative internship. For example, you may be interested in animation, but anime? Not so much. Take the anime internship if it is offered because you will learn many of the same skills such as plot construction and animation skills. When you are finished with the internship, be ready to explain why it is on your resume, especially if you are applying to animation companies. Be honest. Explain you were not able to obtain an animation internship the first time out. Outline the skills you learned, however, and how you can use them in animation.

*Look for summer jobs that may teach you the same skills or help you to make professional connections the way an internship would. For example, lists jobs temp and permanent for the film industry. Signing up with temp agencies for the summer may land you a useful summer experience as well.

*Check out continuing education classes at your local community colleges and universities. Some of these classes tend to be more hands-on learning experiences in the summer. I have seen real-time stock market trading classes, design classes, wine tasting, Monday Night at the Movies and counseling classes offered.

*Sign up for your school’s job shadow program. Summer is an ideal time to follow someone in your field of interest for a day or two to see what he or she does at work. Your school does not have a program like this? So create your own experience. Use your family, friends and alumni networks to locate someone who is willing to host you.

*Summer is also an ideal time to do informational interviews as the work pace slows down in some industries. An informational interview gives you the chance to ask questions about different careers. Research your targeted companies first, and then make a list of questions. The questions you ask should not be about information you can already get online. Use your networks to find someone to interview at your targeted company. This type of interview is purely informational, and you should not be asking for an internship or job at this point. However, you can ask for referrals in general. For example, “Do you know of anyone in the industry who needs an intern right now?”

*Sign up for your school’s mentorship program. Having a mentor is like having access to someone with whom you can do an ongoing informational interview. Again, use your networks to find someone to mentor you if your school does not have this type of program.

Experiential learning can take place year round, too. There are year and semester internship opportunities, ongoing shadow and mentor programs and introduction to careers classes that you can take. Keep your eyes open for opportunities, and the alternatives to a summer internship may give you great experiences that you never anticipated. Good luck!