How Job Seekers Have Used TikTok to Get Hired amid COVID-19

You've likely heard of the fast-growing, Chinese-owned short-video app, TikTok, and you may have even joined to watch and share videos with friends or to simply see what the fuss is all about. While TikTok's popularity was picking up well before COVID-19, individuals secluded in their homes have been in search of new forms of entertainment, causing TikTok's US unique vistor count to rise 48.3% between January and March. 

Like it or not, digital video has become an integral part of everyday life, not only as a means of amusement, but for business purposes as well. Professionals have been forced to adapt to the idea of communicating with their colleagues through online video rather than in person.

For the millions of Americans who are not currently working due to COVID-19-related job loss, they are faced with the uncertaintly of applying for jobs and even interviewing virtually. No one has a rubric that spells out how to find a job during a pandemic, but they also don't have the luxury of waiting to figure out the rules. As lurking expenses and dwindling cashflow threaten economic survival, jobseekers are finding their own unique paths towards getting recognized.

Benji Bezemer, known online as @Bonjee, is a Data Analyst orginally from Panama who recently lost his job due to COVID-19, and was struggling to convey his distinguishable skills and individuality to prospective employers. "I had to get creative," he told Medium. "I was stuck in my room in this awful situation with zero possibilities of making an income, and LinkedIn was flooded with people having extremely better CV's scouring for the same jobs." 

Bonjee was put in a corner, and while he didn't quite have a gameplan, he set out to create his own rules. He knew that digital video was highly engaging and a way that many were passing their downtime during quarantine, so he leveraged this insight and his passion for comedy and social media to capture the attention of viewers.

He created his own unique TikTok video, using a self-deprecating tone to convey his obscure talents that he hoped would attract attention from prospective employers. His authentic and creative approach to marketing himself proved successful, as his video went viral, securing Bonjee 14.8K likes, 192 comments, and most significantly a full-time job within two days.

While it remains unclear whether this was a stand-alone case of good luck or whether this is a plausible way for average jobseekers to market themselves, it offers a glimpse into the evolving nature of  the way people are connecting personally and professionally in response to COVID-19.