Months after graduating from Howard University, Jade Walters struggled to find a job. She tried LinkedIn and Indeed to no avail. Instead, her success in the job search came from an unexpected source, TikTok.
The app famous for dances and comedy skits has now become a platform for hiring.
For a limited time, Walters and other job seekers can upload video resumes to apply for jobs at one or more of the 35-plus employers participating in what's called “TikTok Resumes.”
From July 7 through July 31, applicants can make short “elevator pitches” or video resumes of themselves to apply for positions ranging from entry to senior levels at companies such as Target, Chipotle, Abercrombie & Fitch Co., NASCAR and WWE.
Applicants need to post the video with the hashtag #TikTokResumes. They then need to copy the link and submit it to as many job openings as they want on tiktokresumes.com.
In a press release, the company said TikTok Resumes was created as a way to enhance the already present, and fairly popular, job- and career-related content - known as CareerTok - and introduce their users to more opportunities.
Should you upload your resume?
So, should you apply for a job on TikTok?
That depends on what type of job you want. For both applicants and employers, this new form of hiring will work best for finding positions in marketing, social media, or content creation. By tailoring the hiring process to better reflect their skills, applicants are able to show, rather than tell, their abilities, and hiring managers are able to better see the applicants’ personalities.
“Many of our best ideas, content, and people come from social media channels, including TikTok,” said Elisha Singh-Kramer, director of growth marketing, at Bold.org, one of the participating companies. “As we continue to grow our social team, we have found success in hiring people who are active users of these platforms. Creators understand there's more to a viral piece of content and organic social growth than striking luck – it's methodical yet creative and that's aligned with Bold.org's brand and culture.”
Bold.org is an organization whose mission is to help eliminate student debt through scholarships and other opportunities. Bold.org’s target audience aligns well with the TikTok’s demographics, which tends to skew young.
In fact, 47.4% of TikTok’s users are under age 30, an important demographic for employers seeking workers, many of whom might be unemployed. Some 17.5 million Americans aged 16-24 were unemployed in July 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Paired with the labor shortage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, using a platform like TikTok could be a good way to motivate members of Gen Z into applying for open jobs.
Another firm, Rumie, a learning platform, is also seeking young workers who use TikTok. But instead of focusing on positions for employees with 10 years of experience, the positions available through TikTok are entry level for a Digital Content Marketer and a Youth Ambassador.
“We thought that it was kind of like the right match between who's there and also the right opportunities for those people,” said Sam Zimmer, a learning strategist at Rumie.
How to improve your chances of landing a job using TikTok Resumes
If you decide to apply for a job posted on TikTok, experts say you can improve your chances of landing a job by listing your accomplishments but also demonstrating them as well. If you want to say you’ve promoted events, show the promotions you made, according to hiring managers. First impressions are everything when it comes to applying for jobs, so highlighting your personality in the first 10 seconds is vital.
“The ability for a user to show their creative chops, hear their communication styles, and also have fun with [the application] allows us to capture a more real snapshot of the candidate that a resume can't really do for our open social media roles,” said Singh-Kramer.
In a sense, the video resume can function as a portfolio to highlight what the applicants can do with their creativity and editing. “I think you want to be using the media, to the best of its abilities,” said Zimmer.
Is it working?
So how do users of TikTok feel about this program?
Reactions are mixed. Many of the comments on the post announcing the program are negative, calling it “late stage capitalism” or “this is how you get rejected, not hired.” Other commenters complained that TikTok is for entertainment and, so, applying for jobs through the app goes against the point of the app.
But for some, including Walters, this program is a life changer.
Once Walters posted her TikTok Resume, not only had she applied to several marketing and social media jobs in her field, but after her video blew up, people who viewed it started sending her job listings. One member of the talent acquisition team for a company Walters had applied to on TikTok reached out about a different position in their company. Ten minutes after she applied, Walters had an interview. Walters' social media also linked to her portfolio so employers could view more of her work. Overall, Walters felt the TikTok resume was better suited for her and her career goals.
“I just felt that it just made my application even stronger because I got to really showcase my creativity side,” said Walters.
While Walters was applying to many jobs offered through the program, some people were only applying to one. Aeron Cruz Latham saw a video on TikTok from his favorite basketball team, the Detroit Pistons, announcing they were hiring for a Creative Innovation Intern position through the platform. He immediately got to work creating his TikTok resume.
Instead of just saying what skills he has, Latham utilized the app to highlight his skills. The first 10 seconds act as a reel.
“I've done some other production type of applications [where] we have to submit portfolios. But even that's way different because you're just showing them previous work that could be applicable to the job versus, this is creating essentially -- you're creating a sample for a company of what you can bring to the table, and I think it's very effective,” said Latham.
For members of Gen Z, the older of whom are recently graduating college and applying for their first job, the TikTok resume seems like an ideal way to apply for jobs because it is something they already have fun doing.
“I had so much fun making my video, it's shortened down but, you know, I did invest a lot of time in it like, you know, storyboarding, prepping it, and I like that stuff," said Latham. "So I think if you have any sort of desire to create media, create content, and work in that field, I highly encourage people to do it. It's a lot of fun. I didn't find it stressful. I actually, like, genuinely enjoyed myself doing it.”
The future is video
While applying to jobs through social media might not completely change the hiring market, it does seem to be a successful way for people to find and apply for marketing jobs. This program, if it succeeds in its pilot phase, could be revolutionary in not only hiring, but also allowing people to find new jobs to apply to.
“As a Gen Z myself working in the workplace I find it so important to embrace technology, as it is our future,” said Jennifer Ly, a marketing and public relations associate at Rumie. “TikTok is not only a social media platform for leisure but with such a large reach can be utilized for many different things such as learning, advertising, and hiring.”