Throughout July, TikTok launched a pilot program called TikTok Resumes. The social media platform partnered with select companies, such as Target, the National Hockey League and Shopify, to offer its users the chance to apply to entry-level positions with a video resume.
To participate, users had to create a video resume, share it on their profile using tha hashtag, TikTokResumes, and also apply with the video through the program’s website. After an interested candidate submitted their video, it was then on the companies to review and contact the person if they wanted to proceed further.
The idea was inspired by the growing number of #CareerTok videos offering job advice and tips on the app.
“As an entertainment platform that connects people through creative content and shared interests, we were excited about the opportunity to help reimagine a historically traditional process, in a fun and entertaining way,” Nick Tran, global head of marketing at TikTok, said in a statement to “Good Morning America.”
“Regardless of whether we formally continue TikTok Resumes, we’re looking forward to seeing more creative career content on TikTok and how the recruiting industry adopts the idea of video resumes,” Tran said.
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Rather than replace the resume, Amanda Nachman, career strategist and author of “#Qualified: You Are More Impressive Than You Realize,” said a TikTok resume could instead be used as a “more fun version of a cover letter.
“It gives people who are applying to creative roles and opportunities a chance to show just how creative they can be,” Nachman told “Good Morning America.” “It demonstrates that a person can take a difficult concept and distill it in a video.”
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Besides being creative, Nachman added, a video resume shows that a person has other applicable skills and confidence to use an emerging platform.
“It gives you an opportunity to show your communication skills go beyond the page,” she said. “You might be a great writer but when you’re creating a TikTok, you’re showing, ‘OK, I can plan, I can script, I can speak on camera and show up confidently.'”
For people like Brianna Seaberg, 21, video resumes are a unique way to express oneself — both professionally and personally — in a way that doesn’t necessarily come across on paper.
“Right now, the job market is extremely competitive, especially with remote jobs and with all of these different companies that are hiring and thousands of applicants applying,” Seaberg, a senior at University of Southern California, told “GMA.”
Seaberg said her video resume took around an hour to make, from the concept to editing stages.
“I was looking at my resume and just thinking, ‘OK, what’s here that I should be speaking about?'” she said. “I just used my resume as reference and let my own personality shine through. I didn’t have to write it all out — it came out naturally.”
There’s also value in simply uploading a video resume to TikTok without going through the program itself, Seaberg said. She initially posted her video hoping to find future work for the fall and beyond but didn’t directly apply to any positions.
“I got about 15 plus emails or messages across my social media or on my personal email sending job descriptions, asking me if I wanted to interview, offering me roles and freelance work,” she said. “Creating the video was 100% worth it.”
TreManda Pewett, 27, an engineering major at Spelman College, has been a TikTok creator since 2018. Having watched the platform grow from its initial merger with Musical.ly, Pewett believes that it can become something even bigger.
“During COVID, TikTok really changed,” Pewett told “GMA.” “So I do believe it has potential to really be like LinkedIn or something amazing.”
While becoming more like LinkedIn would be a big transition, it’s not impossible, Pewett said. The key is having proof to support the change.
“If people start getting awesome jobs, I think it could be permanent,” she said.
Pewett said she has received several offers to be part of corporate campaigns and invitations to apply to certain programs.
Cynthia Pong, feminist career strategist and author of “Don’t Stay in Your Lane: The Career Change Guide for Women of Color,” said that the very nature of TikTok leads her to believe that video resumes will be a “passing fad.”
“Only time will tell,” Pong told “GMA.” “It does seem like there’s often fad after fad. Even the dance craze moves — that’s only really trending for sometimes 24 hours. It feels like a very fast pace.”
Pong acknowledged that there are some benefits to using a video resume, like making the job process “more accessible” for people and “leveling the playing field” for those more adept at advocating for themselves in a video format. However, the potential downsides to using a video resume may outweigh the benefits.
“I have a lot of concerns about how this will perpetuate a lot of racism and bias in hiring,” she said. “TikTok resumes being a visual thing, I worry that people aren’t going to be hired because they’re a person of color, because they’re queer, trans, or gender-nonconformimg, or because of fatphobia.”
Employers typically don’t see what a candidate looks like until an interview, but can glean information from the initial screening stages.
Some companies, like Google, employ blind hiring — which removes information like name, gender, and even academic qualifications — to reduce bias in the hiring process as much as possible. But if video resumes come into more permanent play, Pong said, it can undo the work that’s been done to prevent these biases, both conscious and implicit, from influencing a decision.
Even factors like a person’s follower count and video engagement may lead to alienation and bias, according to Pong.
“Are they going to favor someone who has a ton of followers and engagement on their resumes versus people who don’t?” Pong said.
It remains to be seen whether TikTok will continue the program on a permanent basis, but its website currently tells visitors to “stay tuned for the next round.”
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