How a laid-off worker used TikTok to find a new job

  • Antrell Vining was let go from his job after a few months there, but he quickly found a new networking gig on TikTok.
  • He said he made valuable connections after posting that he was let go and unemployed.
  • Vining said that “networking is extremely important, but it’s changing.”

Antrell Vining told Insider that he “felt pretty secure” last fall in his position as a project manager at a major bank, with executives talking about the strength of the company and the market.

He said the role was the “perfect job” for him because it aligned with the master’s degree in computer information systems and digital innovation he has since completed.

But it all ended quickly after a phone call.

He found out that he was let go immediately after working at the bank for about four months. Without severance pay, he was worried about his bills and student loans. His savings, he said, “were not a substantial enough amount to enable me to survive for months upon months.”

“And at the same time, right after I got fired was when the Big Tech companies started laying off,” Vining added, saying he thought because of the competition, “I’m never going to get a job.”

However, after sharing his experience of being let go on TikTok, where he has nearly 40,000 followers @TechByAntrell, he has gained a new footing. In one of the few videos about being unemployed and being let go, Vining told his followers he “just got fired.”

“I get it. I get it,” he said in the video. “A lot of people are affected right now, but I didn’t think this would happen to me.”

This October video now has over 700 comments. He said he was “shocked by the outpouring of support”. Some of the comments on this video included potential job referrals or networking opportunities.

“I didn’t take it seriously at first,” Vining said. “Because obviously getting referrals or a job through TikTok sounds kind of crazy when you think about it. So I didn’t take anything seriously at first. But then I just started following some of the people back to DM me and I chat with them, they were very, very serious about giving me a referral.”

Vining is now a consulting technical project manager after receiving a referral from someone who commented on one of his TikTok videos. He took the role just a month after he was fired in October. Now, he said he’s in a job with a good work-life balance and good benefits.

“Even though I had to go through this period of unemployment, all I had was to end up finding something that was much better for me at the end of the day,” Vining said.

For Vining, losing his old job ended up “actually not too bad of a thing.” He said that “looking back, it ended up being a good thing because now” he got a job “at a company that I love and the people are amazing.”

Vining isn’t the only one who has used videos or posts to find a new job after being fired. Some have had people contact them about opportunities after creating LinkedIn posts. Others have also shared their layoff experience in TikTok videos.

For example, former Meta employee Alejandra Hernandez shared in a daily format her first day of unemployment in a video.

“That video had 800,000 views in a few days,” Hernandez said in an essay from Insider. “I realized people wanted to know more.”

“I think my videos also address the stigmas surrounding layoff and unemployment,” Hernandez said. “We have to pay attention to it and recognize that it’s not our fault.”

Hernandez and Vining are just two people who have used their TikTok accounts to talk about unemployment.

“It’s a bit of a trend right now where one person has come forward and been brave and said, ‘Hey, I’m fired,’ and it’s given other people more power” to do the same, career coach Erin McGoff said. “It’s great, because layoffs shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of.”

Vining later posted a video, which now has over 300 comments, about how he found work after being fired. In this video he says he thinks “TikTok could be the new LinkedIn.” He said people seemed “shocked” by it.

“I felt it was kind of necessary to tell people that’s how I got a new job because, like I said, you wouldn’t think it could happen and it did,” Vining said. “So I kind of wanted people to recognize that the TikTok you follow or the connections you make through TikTok can be valuable in a way that you can literally get a new job. People really rally behind you and support you in difficult times and in the good times, surprisingly.”

Vining stressed that layoffs and job seekers should consider networking.

“Networking is extremely important, but it’s changing,” Vining said. “The way people network is changing.”

“A lot of things are virtual, and so connecting with people or making those connections that you need to get a new job is a lot harder than it used to be,” Vining said. “So I think you have to look at non-traditional ways to make those connections. And in my case, my non-traditional way to make a connection that led to a job was through TikTok.”

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