Amy Lentz Liberati, the head of human resources at a global company, is one of TikTok’s biggest job search gurus. Her videos, posted under the name “Hack Your HR,” give viewers insight on best practices when looking, applying and interviewing for a job—and they’ve racked up nearly 3 million views.
But one of her biggest tips for would-be job seekers involves engaging with your current employer before you start to look elsewhere. “I believe that a lot of what people want in their job is at the other end of a hard conversation typically with their boss or someone in HR,” she tells TIME.
The hashtag #jobsearch has over 2 billion views on TikTok. Liberati, who has managed to get her page to over 80,000 followers in less than three months, says her most successful performing content is for viewers who are frustrated by the job process when not hearing back and are looking to stand out against countless other applicants.
This comes at a time when layoffs are rampant in industries like tech and media and many who are employed are seeking employment elsewhere. More than 95% of nearly 1,000 workers polled were looking for a new position in 2023, according to a survey earlier this year from Monster. The overall U.S. job market remains strong, with an unemployment rate of 3.5%, but recent figures show hiring is starting to slow, meaning some workers may begin to have a harder time finding a job.
“I have so much information that I know is helpful,” says Liberati, who is based in Los Angeles. “The trend on TikTok is to not be a gatekeeper.” TikTok content creators’ affinity to never “gatekeep” helpful information to one another is no exception on the career section of TikTok. It’s filled with applicants eager to ask job search questions, and candid professionals like Liberati willing to give them the answers.
Before you start looking for a new job
Liberati’s advice before deciding to apply to other jobs is to first ask yourself why you want to leave your current employer. “If the root of you looking for a new job is about your job description, your title or your pay, you should ask your HR department to audit your job description so that it reflects your current responsibilities and what you’re being held accountable for. If you like your company, that might be the unlock, rather than leaving the company. That’s a very reasonable ask.”
If advocating for yourself doesn’t work out, or you’re fundamentally unhappy with your manager or the company, then be open to applying elsewhere. But be prepared to strategize on how to differentiate yourself from the crowd of applications you’ll be competing with during your job search.
How to stand out
Your application might be stellar, but you’ve got to get the company to see it first. A strong approach to standing out is to direct message a recruiter. Liberati suggests you go on the company’s LinkedIn page and search for the individuals you’d potentially be working with. For example, if you’re applying to a marketing job, you would search for marketing titles under the “People” section of LinkedIn.
When sending a message to an executive, manager, or recruiter, keep it short and personable to differentiate yourself from the flood of sales-pitch-like messages most recruiters get. Liberati recommends that you don’t send an overly professional, 20-line explanation of why you want the position. Instead, send a casual and collected message that feels like you’re emailing a friend of a friend.
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“Visualize that the CEO might be loading the dishwasher that night. That might help with the tone of the message,” says Liberati. If you’re succinct and personable, “you can stand out in two sentences,” she says.
An effective cold DM would include brief sentiments about who you are, what you do, what you’re passionate about and what most excites you about the open position. You can end your message with a direct ask like: “Can you connect me to the right person for this position?”
Instead of starting with “To whom it may concern,” try “Hi, good morning!” Instead of ending with “Best regards,” try “Hope to hear from you soon.’”
Generally, the best way to unlearn the usual corporate script is to try writing the way you might speak, says Liberati.
TikTokers offering job help are even going beyond the app itself. Liberati offers her TikTok audience a Google Drive of free resources that answer questions like “How to ask for feedback at work?” or “How to quit your job like a pro, but still leave a positive impression?” Another user who posts about her personal job search journey, began offering a “Job Search Accountability Group” where the group will meet to “edit resumes, send out applications, or any other career-related goals.”
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Viewers are eager to take advantage of these online resources, Liberati says. “Just from posting two videos I got 11,000 people that wanted access to my drive in less than a week,” she says. “I’m their anonymous, informal, HR-informed person online that can provide them with candid feedback that they can use in their day to day work life.”
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