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Using Pinterest to Enhance Your Job Search

Don't dismiss Pinterest just because it's pretty.

When you think of using social media in your job search, you likely think first of LinkedIn, which provides a lot of resources and networking connections. But with 125 million users in the United States and over 175 billion pins, the potential for finding helpful job search information on Pinterest is high. Many job seekers I meet with dismiss Pinterest as a site predominantly appealing to women seeking the latest recipes or home-decorating ideas. And while, yes, it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole and find yourself looking at Altered Altoid Tins or the best recipes for Guinness beef stew, Pinterest shouldn’t be dismissed just because it’s pretty.

Think of Pinterest instead as a virtual bulletin board where you can post and store information that will be useful throughout your search.

Pinterest's visual nature and attractive colorful images can be a nice respite from endless word documents and websites, helping you maintain your focus and interest in your search. You might be pleasantly surprised at how appealing career research can be. But be careful: Distraction can be a challenge when using Pinterest, so you might want to set a timer while you're using it. (I recently found a meme that says: “My online job search has somehow transitioned into a mildly obsessive Pinterest addiction”; you might find some truth in that.)

Compared to other social media platforms, Pinterest is easy to use and provides clear guidance around privacy settings.

Getting Started on Pinterest:

  • Go to the Pinterest site and create a name and password to set up your account.
  • Create a username and an account name, which do not have to be the same. People will search you by your account name, not your username, so keep that in mind when selecting it. If you plan to use Pinterest as part of your brand and to impress employers, your account name should be professional.
  • Start creating some “Pinboards” (virtual bulletin boards) by topic, and “pin” articles and visual graphics to your board. You can choose to make each board public or private. It’s very easy to switch your board from public to private and vice versa, so you can change your mind at any time.
  • To help establish your online brand, create public boards that focus on your interests you’d like a potential employer to know about. By creating public boards, others can follow you, and you can share ideas. For instance, if you're setting up a counseling practice or seeking a job in counseling, you might want to create public boards with topics like "Well-Being," "Anxiety," "Positive Psychology," or "Coping with Stress," and then fill the boards with lots of pins related to those topics. A potential employer will be able to see your interests, and potential/current clients can use the resources themselves.
  • Be sure to connect your Pinterest link to your LinkedIn page.
  • Notice individuals who seem to post a lot in your areas of interest and follow them so you’ll see their pins. Check out whether experts in your field have Pinterest pages. (This is more likely if your field is creative or artistic in nature.) Here's an article posted by Jacob Share listing the top Pinterest boards for job seekers.
  • As with other social media, be careful. Some articles or pins might be scam-related. Do not rely exclusively on what you learn on Pinterest. Always thoroughly investigate any opportunities you find. Be especially careful of any “get rich quick” or “work from home” sites — they are much more likely to be scams than genuine.

10 tips for using Pinterest to enhance your job search:

1. Research job search topics, such as resumes, networking, or interviews. When possible, try to be specific in your searches. If you search “interviewing” you will likely be overwhelmed with volumes of information. On the other hand, if you select “Interviewing Questions,” you’ll be guided to pins focusing on that specific topic. Pinterest will even suggest more narrow topics, like “Behavioral Questions,” “Health-care Interview Questions,” or “Interviewing for Teens.”

2. Research general career fields. Here are the results of a “Careers in Psychology” query and a “Careers in Writing” query. A search of “Careers in Banking” pulls up titles ranging from “What It’s Really Like to Work in Investment Banking” to “Between the Lines: An Interview with a woman in Investment Banking” to “Big Data and Banking."

3. Use Pinterest to learn more about a field and clarify your interests. If you’re considering a field, but don’t know a lot about it yet, try searching for pins related to the general field, not jobs. For instance, a search of Human Resources brings up a treasure trove of articles and images that relate to the field. By reading some of the resources, you can start to narrow down your interests within the field, and then you can look for specific jobs.

4. You can also research education. A search for "graduate school" brings up lots of information from posts about “What I Wish I Knew in Grad School” to “How to Find Financial Aid for Graduate Study” or “How to Ask for Letters of Recommendation.”

5. Don't know what career you want to pursue? A search under “Career Ideas” brings up everything from “Best Job Search Advice for 2019” to “The Ultimate Animals Career List.”

6. Search for desired employers on Pinterest. Some corporations maintain their own boards, while others will be referenced by other boards. For instance, here’s what IBM posts. Keep in mind that most companies use Pinterest for marketing purposes, but reading their sites will help you get acquainted with their product line.

7. Use Pinterest to display your writing, presentations, artwork, or other projects. You can pin them to your public board so others can view them.

8. Look for sites curated by professionals in the career coaching or counseling field to quickly find job search resources. You can also check out Pinterest pages for college and university career centers; they often aggregate the most valuable articles and information. (Here’s the Pinterest page for Vanderbilt University’s Career Center, for instance, and here’s Florida State University’s board.)

9. One of my favorite uses for Pinterest is stress reduction. Whether you’re currently working or looking for a job, it’s important to take a break. And Pinterest is great for that. Pinterest is an entertaining source of inspiration and motivation related to virtually any topic. Put “motivational quotes” into Pinterest, and you’ll find your favorite quote presented in an attractive format, which you can print if desired. Try searching for inspirational quotes to lift your spirits.

10. Finally, a fun topic to search is work humor. Twitter is a great source for funny memes and other humorous items that will help you keep your perspective. Just keep in mind that Pinterest offers a broad range of humor posts which might include adult language.

The job search can be fairly dry and filled with endless searches on the internet for openings and information. Pinterest can add some color and vitality to the process, keeping you more motivated and inspired as you go through the process. And, if you're interested, feel free to go to my Pinterest page, where you'll find lots of career-related info and, yes, recipes for Guinness Stew and instructions for making altered Altoid tins.

©2019 Katharine S. Brooks. All rights reserved.