Question: Apart from being household names, what do The Weather Channel, Random House Books, Southwest Airlines, General Electric and The Wall Street Journal have in common?
Answer: All of them are brands that are killing it on Pinterest. Best-known for its mostly-female user base, Pinterest is one of the fastest-growing social media sites in recent years. In 2014, for example, its male users doubled — an impressive feat for a company that’s only been around since 2010.
Not surprisingly, more and more companies are using Pinterest to further their marketing efforts. That means you also have more and more opportunities to get noticed in the job market, other than through traditional job boards and LinkedIn. To make the most of this not-so-newfangled tool — because six years is ancient by today’s standards — here’s how to turn your Pinterest into a career maker.
1. Treat It Like a Portfolio
Since Pinterest is a visual platform, it’s a great place to show off your creativity. If you’re in a creative field, you can spruce up your resume with a creative design, and upload one to your profile. Or you can post photos, videos, infographics and other media to wow employers with your artistic skills.
Re-pins are big on Pinterest – in fact, 80 percent of content has already been shared. If you want to make your pins more shareable, it’s best to:
- Use a vertical or portrait orientation.
- Make it at least 600 pixels wide, with 736 pixels being the optimal width.
- Use no more than three separate images per mosaic.
- Use an aspect ratio of 1:3:5 or 2:3.
- Edit images to include text.
- Include rich, descriptive alt text.
If your portfolio is made up of written pieces — e.g. blogs, articles, sales copy — Pinterest is unfortunately not the best platform for them. However, you can link to them in other ways (keep reading).
2. Use It for Research
Want your dream company to find you via Pinterest? Make sure they’re active users on the site. Search their names via the bar provided or type general industry terms such as “technology” and “online marketing” to cast a wider net. Don’t forget to check whether the accounts you’re looking at are verified, so you know you’re connecting with the real deal.
While you’re at it, take a closer look at those companies’ boards. How do they present themselves on Pinterest? Do they seem like they use the site regularly, or do they post only on occasion? This will clue you in on whether Pinterest is the best way to reach out to them and how you can revamp your brand and profile to mirror theirs.
3. Connect With Companies
Once you find a good company, follow their boards and engage with them. Re-pin their posts that resonate the most with you. Leave thoughtful comments that add value to those posts. The more you do this, the more likely someone from that company will notice and reach out to you or recognize your name on a resume.
4. Be “Profersonal”
Sure, you’re an awesome professional through-and-through. But what about your persona outside of work? Remember to sprinkle your profile with your unique personality, too.
Don’t be afraid to pin about things like cute animals, cupcakes and home decor inspiration. Keep your posts authentic but not exhibitionist. As long as none of your pins are anything you’ll regret posting later, the employers who matter will like getting to know you outside of your resume.
Of course, you want people to know your profile belongs to you and no one else. Upload your best headshot as your profile pic. Use it on your other social networking sites. Use your real name for your username and other relevant pins/boards.
5. Share Links to Your Other Sites
If you have an official website or an account on other social networking sites, don’t hesitate to share those, too. Link to them via your profile bio or use your pins’ descriptions to link to individual posts. To cross-post between Pinterest and Facebook, in particular, here’s a handy guide to help you out.
6. Don’t Make It All About You
You know those people who only talk about themselves? Nobody likes being around those types, whether in the real world or the virtual one. So don’t be that person. Instead:
- Re-pin posts by other pros in your industry.
- Drop them a sincere compliment via their comments section.
- Engage your commenters in turn, but only if they’re not being abusive, hurtful or trollish. No matter where you are, being considerate is always appreciated.
7. Find Inspiration
Need more ideas on how to make your Pinterest stand out? Look up career experts on the site. Type “career advice,” “workplace success” and the like in the search bar, and pay close attention to their posts on how to use Pinterest as a marketing tool. If they’re able to gather enough traction on the site on their own, you know their career advice rings true.
Also, you’ll want to find companies that do a great job of leveraging Pinterest, such as Mashable, Etsy and General Electric. Take a look at what they do — and don’t do — and test whether their branding strategies can work for you too.
8. Promote Your Pinterest
Just because your dream company isn’t on Pinterest doesn’t mean you should skip the site. For example, let’s say you applied for a company via LinkedIn, and the job description requires you to send over a portfolio. Assuming you used Pinterest as your portfolio, you can still link to it in your cover letter/resume.
You can also link to your Pinterest via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other sites you won’t mind an employer seeing. Let your friends/followers/what-have-you know about your newly opened Pinterest account via an update like “Hey, guys! Check out my Pinterest at pinterest.com/myawesomesite.”
9. Use It Wisely
It’s easy to get sucked into the Pinterest black hole. With all those pretty pictures of cute cats, cute clothes and cute cakes, how can you not? People spend an average of nearly 16 minutes on the site, more even than Facebook. But if you’re serious about using it as a networking tool, it’s better to restrict your usage to work-related stuff — at least while you’re at the office. Once you come home and call it a day, you can scroll through all the pins you want, for as long as you want.