When Clark Walker first opened his Instagram account, jclarkwalker, it was not part of a master plan. "I really thought it was just to add filters to make my pictures look better," he said, "I didn't know about social media."
He started using Instagram when he was in barber school in Utah. He'd post pictures of his work (with his clients' permission) and was surprised when he started getting responses from people. People started following him and he discovered the world of barbers on Instagram.
After finishing school and working for a while, Walker and his wife decided it was time for a new adventure --moving to New York City. Walker had been following some other barbers on Instagram, including Fellow Barber, a shop in New York's West Village. He noticed, they had put up a post on Instagram, saying they were hiring.
"My wife, actually tagged me in the photo and I was like oh, holy cow, so I just left a comment saying we're actually thinking of moving here." That comment started the ball rolling, and they told Walker to contact them after the move.
No resume needed
Because Walker had been posting pictures regularly to his Instagram account, Fellow Barber was able to instantly access his portfolio. They could see what his work was like, and furthermore, because his clients allowed him to take and post photos, they knew that he was a personable sort of "fellow barber."
His Utah barber's license wouldn't transfer to New York, so before moving, he had to take additional classroom hours. A bit of a pain, but effective in being legal to cut hair in New York.
Shortly after arriving in New York, Walker and his family decided to take a brief trip up north to see the leaves. While enjoying the foliage in Maine, he received a call from Fellow Barber asking if he could come in the next day for a test cut. Walker laughed when he explained his reaction, "Not gonna be like, actually, I can't! I'm out of town!" Instead, he and his wife drove through the night, and Walker did his test hair cuts the next morning, and landed the job. He arrived in New York October 1, and started the job on the 13th.
What he did right?
Walker didn't set out to win a job using Instagram. He set out to showcase the things he loved--his family and haircuts. He built relationships with other barbers over Instagram. And, importantly, he was ready to pounce on an opportunity when it came up. He didn't wait around, hoping that someone would discover his talent and offer him a job.
This goes with his general life philosophy. "I'm a formal advocate of encouraging people to find something that fits your personality and makes you and your family happy. I love my job and I love going to work everyday." He had originally planned on being a doctor, and studied pre-med in college, but being a barber brought him true happiness, so he went for it.
Walker is now in his dream job, which he landed without a formal resume, but with a lot of awesome pictures, hard work, talent, and an Instagram account.
Can you do this?
If you're an accountant, posting pictures of spreadsheets may not get you the next job. But, there are plenty of professions where portfolios play a large role. In every profession, relationships are huge. Walker followed the barber shop where he landed a job. Other barbers followed him.
The key is that he built relationships before he needed a job. If you wait until you're unemployed, and then try to post pictures of everything you've ever done in a single day, you'll miss out on the relationship-building, which is the most important aspect of pursuing a job in today's climate.
If your profession lends itself towards portfolio work, and you're a reasonably talented photographer, Instagram may be a great tool to helping get your name out. Walker advocates the use of hashtags to get integrated into the community. Follow people who do what you love, and always show your best side. And, a good haircut never hurt anyone.
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