March 12, 2013 at 7:57 AM ET
The social media site Pinterest is known for its eye-appealing recipes, wedding pictures and DIY projects – and it’s also becoming a place for pinners to market themselves professionally.
Sarah Gubara of Baltimore, Md., describes her Pinterest boards as a “living resume,” a place where she can show off her accomplishments and her interests. One of her boards includes articles she has written, but the rest are mostly personal: wedding ideas and places she'd like to travel.
“When you’re applying for jobs, no one has the time to listen to people tell their story,” Gubara said. “I felt that Pinterest displays your personality visually.”
Gubara, 23, works for Maroon PR (she said she “stalked” her future co-workers on Pinterest to learn more about them) said she has been contacted via Pinterest to speak on a panel and to write an article. She has since created a company page that she can pull up on her phone and at a conference or meeting.
“When you connect with someone on LinkedIn – and I like LinkedIn a lot – there’s not that two-way street. It’s more of a Rolodex,” Gubara said.
Pinterest — one of the fastest-growing social networks with 28.9 million visitors, according to comScore — loves that some of its users market themselves on the site.
“Whether it’s a photographer displaying a portfolio, a local wedding planner showcasing event concepts, or a teacher organizing classroom projects and ideas, people use Pinterest in a number of interesting, inspiring ways for their careers,” said spokeswoman Annie Ta.
Self-branding on Pinterest can be tricky, however, as the site rewards being personal. But branding expert Maria Elena Duron, founder of marketing firm Buzz to Bucks in Midland, Texas, says that allows employers to get a better read on applicants’ personalities and whether they would be a good fit.
Duron recommends using a professional profile photo – similar to one used on LinkedIn – and writing a short profile in the third-person, using keywords an employer might use in a Google search engine.
Duron suggests signing up for LinkedIn’s advanced feature – free for the first month – and taking note of which keywords send searchers to your profile. Tweak your LinkedIn profile until you’re happy with who lands on your profile, and then use those words for your Pinterest page. And, of course, list your full name.
“If you’re looking for a marketing position, one of the boards could be greatest marketing books, and you pin every marketing book,” Duron said. Also, she recommends maintaining control of your boards. “Do not share boards for your personal Pinterest page.”
The Pinterest portfolio is a natural for artists and designers but also works for words-oriented people. Duron posts her blog items on Pinterest, which allows a reader to see a bulletin board of her posts. The trick: Upload an image and attach a URL.
Balance personal items with pins from other boards, says Melissa Taylor, a teacher from Denver, Colo. and author of Pinterest Savvy. “Nobody likes a braggart,” Taylor said.
Some small companies, particularly those in the wedding industry, have also come to rely on Pinterest to display their work. Amy Crapero, owner of Wow Factor Cakes in Charlotte, N.C., posts her own cakes and also the gowns and haute-couture that inspire them.
It also helps with clients, she said, who find it hard to “communicate verbally what they’re thinking visually.”
“If a client says, ‘I want my cake to be lacy, I can go to Pinterest and do a search on ‘lace cakes’ that they have posted and all the lace cakes will pop up and a variety of styles of lace cakes.”
Wow Factor has three employees and one intern, so Pinterest, which is free to use, has helped in a small way. Craparo said several brides a month walk in after spotting her cakes on Pinterest.
“The first time, (the bride) came in with a picture of our cake -- I don’t know if she realized it was our cake,” Craparo said. “She said, ‘I like this one.’ It was neat to see it unfold as a tool that they’re using.”