Job Search Tools: Pinterest vs. LinkedIn

In some ways, we are awash in potential job search tools that are intended to–or purport to–provide job seekers with valuable assistance. Some of the tools are relatively new, while others have been around for some time (years, even). From what little I know of Pinterest (not much, I admit), I would not have included it in the category of a useful job search tool. LinkedIn, on the other hand, I know well and have a good opinion of in that regard. Still, I do try to keep an open mind, because new developments emerge frequently and can change over time into something bigger and more useful than at first expected.

How Does Pinterest Stack Up Against LinkedIn?

Actually, this isn’t a fair question, for reasons I’ll get to in a minute. However, I recently read an online article titled “10 Tips: Use Pinterest to Get a Job,” by Michelle Rafter (, that suggested ways Pinterest could be useful in a job search, so I decided to at least consider how that might work. Below are the 10 ways Rafter suggests Pinterest might help; but first, I want to share the following quote from her article: “‘If you’re in a creative or design field, it’s an amazing place to build a portfolio or create a visual resume,’ says Annie Favreau, managing editor at….” My take on this is that Pinterest might be more useful for those of you in or targeting those fields than it would to general and/or senior management/executive job seekers.

Ms. Rafter’s 10 Tips:

  1. Optimize your Pinterest profile.
  2. Set up an online resume and portfolio.
  3. Dedicate a board to careers you’re curious about.
  4. Create boards for companies or industries you’d like to know better.
  5. Follow experts. Keep up with employment trends….
  6. Leave comments.
  7. Wander around. Do some browsing….
  8. Protect your work.
  9. Be professional.
  10. Watch out for spammers.

What LinkedIn Does Best for Job Seekers

Pinterest definitely started out as a personal-expression and personal-interest-organizing venue. To my limited understanding, it still focuses heavily in that direction. Unless you’re in a creatively oriented field, I suspect using Pinterest for your job search will have limited usefulness. As Rafter’s article points out, “Pinterest lets you save photos or images from news stories, blog posts or other online content in the form of pins that are organized into folders called boards.” So you could presumably steer your Pinterest account in at least a quasi-professional direction. However, it seems to me that would be challenging if you also have a very personal focus alongside the professional one.

Unlike Pinterest, LinkedIn has been largely geared toward professional activities and online presence for as long as I can remember. Although its setup, offerings, etc., have changed from time to time over the years, the professional/business focus seems to remain. That means the majority of job seekers who are serious about their career management planning and execution take their LinkedIn presence just as seriously. You won’t find news about their family outings or Friday night parties highlighted on there, as you might on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. This doesn’t mean your LinkedIn profile has to be dry-as-a-bone dull, but it does mean people (i.e., employers/recruiters) expect you to have a professional presence there. Also, in addition to your profile, you should take advantage of some of LinkedIn’s other features, which includes checking out and getting involved in at least a few LinkedIn groups with relevance to your field, industry, etc.

Key Point about Pinterest vs. LinkedIn as Job Search Tools

Like anything else, it’s possible to go to one extreme or the other on subjects such as this. I prefer the middle ground that evaluates each option in terms of possible benefit and implements or doesn’t implement action accordingly. It’s a question of potential value versus the time investment required to make it pay off.

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