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Job Seekers Turn to TikTok for Authentic Pitch, But Experts Warn of a Downside

While most companies and recruiters still suggest you have a one-sheet resume, some job seekers are turning to TikTok, which is changing the job hunt

NBCUniversal, Inc.

When you’re trying to land a new job — what’s the most creative way you’ve tried to stand out in a sea of applicants? While most companies and recruiters still suggest you have a one sheet resume, some job seekers are turning to TikTok, which is changing the job hunt.

In July, the company launched a pilot program called TikTok Resumes, designed to help connect users with companies who are hiring.

“This can be a more natural way for especially younger people to present themselves," said CNET culture reporter, Abrar Al-Heeti. "They're not just in a suit and sitting across the table from someone or presenting just like a blank, boring piece of paper to somebody. They are presenting themselves. They're being authentic. So, a lot of them feel very comfortable and TikTok -- it's a way to kind of really get to know somebody for who they are and it's a way for companies to discover new talent as well.”

Al-Heeti believes TikTok is just another outlet to get noticed.

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“Essentially, when companies see you apply for a job, they're not just reading about you. They're seeing you. They're seeing what you're like. They're seeing, like, how you present yourself, what you're like on camera,” said Al-Heeti.

Large companies like Target, Chipotle, Shopify and even World Wrestling Entertainment have taken notice by using TikTok to find applicants.

But will other companies join them?

“What we're encouraging is that they go to multiple places to try to find the talent that they're looking for, especially as tight as the talent market is right now,” said Thomas Vick, regional vice president for global talent solutions firm Robert Half.

Robert Half recently polled over 850 LinkedIn users and results showed that, aside from LinkedIn, Facebook is the favored social media site for recruiting candidates. Only 7% of respondents preferred TikTok.

“One of the things that we're encouraging when it comes to our clients is to look at multiple areas. You can't just sit, you can't just look at one potential area. It can't just be LinkedIn or CareerBuilder or Monster. You've got to look at multiple sites. And now this is becoming kind of (the) new thing where these younger candidates feel like they can put that information out there on TikTok,” said Vick.

While the hashtag, #tiktokresumes has racked up more than 300 million views, some experts worry there could be a downside.

“So here you're not only reading a name, but you're seeing a face. And so it's interesting to see what will happen there,” said Al-Heeti. "You know, hopefully the companies that are making themselves available through something like TikTok resumes are more open minded. But you could have an instance where somebody might discriminate against someone because of how they look."

“One of the things that we encourage our clients to do is if they are going to run a search, make sure they're running the exact same search across all the same platforms for every single person that they're considering,” said Vick.

Jessica Cates is the director for TCU’s career center at the Neely School of Business and does not recommend the platform for her students. She worries it could hurt applicants down the road.

“While it may be relevant right now ... when I'm trying to go get a professional role in an office 15 years from now, that's still going to be with me and may not be what I'm trying to portray,” said Cates.

Vick agrees.

“Treat it like it's a professional environment and make sure you're putting professional content out there with how you dress, what you say in those type of things,” said Vick.

The pilot only lasted three weeks but some experts say they imagine other social platforms will do something similar in the future.

If you’re looking for a new job, Robert Half shared the following tips to help with your search:

  • Social media presence — make sure it’s professional and up-to-date
  • Seek resume advice — Get resume advice and interview practice. Have your resume updated  
  • Update references — Be ready to provide references or letters of recommendation
  • Know your worth — do market research or utilize an agency to help provide this information
  • Work with a professional staffing company — Seek best practices and tips from a professional staffing firm

If you have an interview lined up, the company shares their top tips to help you land the job:

  • Research — Research the company and interviewer
  • Confidence — If you want the job, ask for the job. Don’t be afraid to tell them why you’re a fit
  • Accomplishments — When did you save a company time or money?
  • Personal branding — Treat all interviews, even virtual interviews, equally: dress the part, test your internet connection, check your camera framing/background
  • Salary Negotiation — Be ready to negotiate with factual information on the market salary for the role
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