Instagram and TikTok are apps typically used to share special moments, connect with others, or promote our brands — but can we also use these platforms to create and share resumes? In 2021, TikTok launched TikTok Resumes, a program designed to "continue expanding and enhancing TikTok as a new channel for recruitment and job discovery," according to a news release.
The New York Times calls TikTok the new search engine for Gen Z, so it makes sense that Gen Z users could also search for employment opportunities on the app. It also makes sense brands looking for young talent may turn to the app for job postings. But are marketing managers and recruiters watching TikTok videos and accepting them instead of resumes?
To find out, I asked recruiters at HubSpot and surveyed marketing decision-makers for their thoughts on resumes in the form of TikTok videos. Here's what you need to know if you're thinking of filming your next resume.
What is a TikTok resume?
A TikTok resume is a 60-second video posted to TikTok showcasing the job experience, skills, and creativity of a user looking for employment. To ensure the resume reaches recruiters, job candidates must include #TikTokResumes in their posts.
Below is an example of a TikTok resume:
Almost half of TikTok users in the U.S. are between the ages of 10 and 29, so the program likely targets job seekers looking for entry-level positions.
What do professionals think of TikTok or Instagram resumes?
Since videos on TikTok often find their way to Instagram Reels, I figured it'd be safe to assume users would also upload their videos to Instagram to get more eyes on their resumes. With that in mind, I surveyed 98 marketing professionals to gauge their thoughts on TikTok or Instagram resumes. Here are the results:
- When asked if they've ever considered a candidate with an Instagram or TikTok resume, 68% said they have, and 32% said they have not.
- When asked if they would review an Instagram or TikTok resume, 71% of respondents said they would.
- 27% said they would review one, but only with a traditional resume document. The remaining 2% said they do not know and are unfamiliar with Instagram and TikTok resumes.
I also asked respondents to explain their reasoning for why they would (or wouldn't) accept a TikTok or Instagram resume. Respondents in favor of these video resumes often said they found the resumes to be unique, fun, creative, and interesting.
Respondents not in favor of TikTok and Instagram resumes often said the resumes were unprofessional or wouldn't give enough insight about the candidate. Once again, some respondents said they'd rather accept the video with a traditional resume document.
I also asked HubSpot marketing recruiters for their perspectives.
"I would more likely want [a TikTok or Instagram resume) as an addition versus replacing a resume completely," Marketing Recruiter Kassandra Pirela said. "A resume gives more insight on the experience and whatnot … I would like this as an addition to show that they put more effort into applying, and it's just nice to get to know them a little more."
Some HubSpot recruiters seemed to agree that video resumes like a TikTok or Reel are best as a supplement, rather than a replacement, for traditional resumes. However, other HubSpot recruiters also pointed out that video resumes can be more efficient than conventional resumes since they're quicker to view and showcase personality.
However, a common concern brought up by the recruiters is that a video resume could trigger unconscious biases in the job-searching processes. For example, a recruiter may be more interested in the interactive video than a traditional resume, regardless of either candidate's experience.
Should you make a TikTok or Instagram resume?
In an increasingly digital world, social media resumes could likely become more acceptable in the professional world in the coming years. However, candidates should always research the job they are applying for and adhere to the job posting guidelines.
In other words, if the job posting says to submit a resume document and cover letter — do that. You can include a link to your TikTok resume in your application to stand out, but you still need to have the materials the job posting specifies. A TikTok resume could be beneficial if you're applying for a reactive position like a videographer or social media manager — but make sure to have a traditional resume on hand.