Hi there, please tell us a little bit about yourself! Who are you? What do you like to do for fun?
Hello from the other side, I'm Haejin (pronounced Hedge-in)😌! I'm a Korean American living in LA who loves all things pop culture, media, and dessert. As an ENFJ, I am energized and motivated by the people around me, but also a very type-A person when it comes to work. I've struggled with the concept of finding the "perfect" career path for myself, so when I encountered Spill the Beans, I knew I had to be a part of it.
When I'm not working for my job or Spill the Beans, I like to watch TikTok, Netflix, Kdramas, Webtoon, or anime (WOW that's a mouthful), discover new boba places, paint my gel nails, bake mini cakes, learn about mechanical keyboards, and illustrate characters!
Can you tell us what you do as a Creator Elevation Specialist at TikTok for those who are unfamiliar?
I'm currently a Creator Elevation Specialist at TikTok, which means I spotlight creator experiences, drive creator satisfaction & positive brand perception, and highlight diverse voices on our platform by connecting creators and TikTok with unique elevation opportunities at scale (ex. social media highlights, brand partnership, TikTok programming, and more). It's a very cross-functional role that involves project managing diversity initiatives, attending many meetings, staying creator & diversity focused, and communicating with creators to understand their pain points.
How did you decide to pursue your specific career? What pivotal moments pushed you to where you are now?
This is a long one... I grew up fantasizing about finding the perfect job from consuming a lot of messaging that emphasizes, "you have been created to find the one passion/job that will fulfill you." Especially growing up with a lot of adults who didn't seem very happy with their careers, I was determined to lean into my passion even if that meant that I wouldn't make a lot of money.
From a very young age, I was always interested in the arts—illustrations, dance, film, and music. My interests at the time led me to pursue Design Media Arts (multimedia design) at UCLA, and since my sophomore year, I took on 6 internships and 2 part-time jobs in design, digital marketing, creative marketing, and film production. I switched career paths almost every 3 months because no job would satisfy me, and I felt like every time I found a new passion I was taking a step back in my career. However, every experience led me to learn more about myself and find out what I wanted in my future career. For example:
❤️ I like: working in a collaborative team setting, having a manager w/ experience, seeing my work create direct impact, fast-paced environments, feeling challenged
💔 I do not like: companies with a very small team, extremely streamlined responsibilities or corporate environments, 100% operational role with no creativity.
As I was working in a contractor role in entertainment & discovering these qualities, I started directly reaching out to people for informational interviews from different industries. Meeting 2-3 new people every week and hearing their career journeys helped me understand that the "perfect" job really did not exist. In this process, I reached out to an old friend at TikTok, and she told me about the amazing company culture and the diverse responsibilities she handled in her role. This pushed me further to actively apply to the company and bug many recruiters until it led me to my current role now!! This is also the first role where I didn't feel the need to work on side projects to keep myself fulfilled. (Shoutout to the amazing community & creator marketing team~)
What programs & tools do you use everyday for work? What do you like/dislike about these programs?
My company uses its in-house versions of products similar to the G-suite (Sheets, Docs, Slides etc). I also scroll through TikTok to discover new creators that we'd like to potentially spotlight.
Any advice on how to stand out and get hired for those starting off?
1. You can network without being "fake"🤐- Some people hesitate reaching out to old friends or strangers while job searching, but as long as you keep the conversation genuine, take interest in their stories, and keep in touch, you do NOT need to worry about coming off unnatural. Stalk them on LinkedIn, portfolio websites, and other social platforms to prepare interesting questions and form a genuine connection with them! <- This helped me land interviews without even asking them.
Tip: Go into informational interviews without expecting a "favor" in return, and make sure to be respectful of their time!
2. Give thanks & keep in touch🤝- I still keep in touch with recruiters and managers from 3-4 years ago to update them on my career path. Every time you make a career pivot or take on a new role, you have an opportunity to reach out to the people who have supported you along the way. This strengthens your relationship with them and reminds them that you're available whenever they have an open role! If you are hesitant to reach out to that old teammate, THIS IS YOUR SIGN!!!
3. Be open to feedback👂- I know that it may be embarrassing to share your resume or portfolio website with experienced people, especially as a student. I definitely felt this way when I shared a resume for review with an older friend of mine because it looked so unprofessional. But her open/honest feedback helped me make my resume more concise and catered towards the roles I was applying to, which ultimately landed me interviews. TLDR: Don't be shy to ask for help!!
These aren't specifically for creator marketing, but I use these resources to keep me inspired!
1. Spill the Beans
2. Design Life
3. How I Built This
4. Planet Money
What are 3 character traits that would make someone excel in your field?
1. Collaboration 🤝: How do you effectively communicate and work with various teams, such as product, design, legal, finance, global marketing, and music?
2. Organized 📚: How do you manage and stay on top of multiple ongoing projects?
3. Empathetic 😊: How much do you care for the creators on the platform? How could you best hear them and represent their diverse voices?
Most satisfying & difficult thing about your job?
Satisfying: Seeing the direct impact of my work on our platform and through creator feedback & knowing that all of my projects are rooting for diversity and inclusion.
Difficult: Managing numerous projects at once and making sure each decision is made with transparency between all the teams.
What would you like to say to your younger self?
Lean into what you love at the moment because you'll find yourself exactly where you wanted to be. This is going to take you 20 years to admit, but you are someone who gets bored very easily. Use this as a strength, rather than a weakness, to learn more skills and meet diverse people. God's plans for the future are always greater and better than anything you could ever imagine!
Best advice you've received/heard?
After graduating college, I went through a major career crisis! I realized that once I was working in my "dream job," I was still feeling unsatisfied. During this time, a close friend/mentor of mine told me,
"Don't be married to the idea that you'll be working in the same job or industry for the rest of your life. Things change! What you like now may not be what you like when you’re 30. And that's okay."
This advice was a breakthrough for me to stop worrying about finding THE job. Thanks Jeremy!