How TikTok creator Sarah Lee helps empower young women joining the workforce 

She uses lessons she's learned navigating the corporate world to help others on her growing TikTok platform

Sarah Lee Candid
Sarah Lee, content creator, making a video for TikTok in downtown Toronto on June. 3, 2024. (Melanie Kalogirou/Toronto Observer) 

Scrolling through the comments on her TikTok videos, Sarah Lee can always count on requests for styling tips and questions about her work outfits.

Her notifications are filled with anecdotes from the community she has built, many of whom are young women graduating from post-secondary education and transitioning into their first corporate jobs.

Comments from Sarah Lee’s TikTok videos (Sarah Lee/TikTok)

Over the past year, she has balanced her current role at RBC Wealth Management and her growing TikTok platform of more than 74,000 followers.

Lee graduated from Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) in 2021 with a degree in business management – marketing and human resources. In 2023, at 24 years old, she began her current position as social media specialist at RBC .

“I have my full-time job in marketing and I also do content creation on the side. I think it’s a great place to put my creativity,” Lee said.

She was excited to begin her role at RBC as she was finally pursuing a job in marketing after switching her academic focus from accounting and finance. Securing her current position at RBC made her decision to pursue marketing at TMU feel rewarding.

Creating authentic content with a purpose 

When Lee first began posting on TikTok in 2020, it was simply a fun pastime. “TikTok was honestly very accidental, I started making funny videos with my parents, not expecting anyone to see them at all,” she said.

After posting her first few videos of her parents following popular TikTok trends, they began to get noticed in public.

“For some reason, my first four videos with my parents blew up and got millions of views, and then all of a sudden I had this platform,” Lee said.

Her parents didn’t like their new fame much, and expressed that making content long-term was not for them.

Time for a rebrand

Lee then decided it was time to rebrand and expand her content to day-in-the-life, outfit-of-the-day and get ready with me style videos.

She said her experience in the corporate world over the past year has improved her self confidence and independence in various ways.

She has learned to prioritize work-life balance, know her worth in a room of professionals, and dress to impress.

“I was able to leave my previous job [for] something I really enjoy. I have a passion for social media,” Lee said.

In her TikTok videos, she provides life updates, wellness tips, and work-outfit advice, to help other young women feel their best.

“I do a lot of corporate outfit videos and that is the content that performs best for my page,” she said. “Just by making the little things easier for people, I built this community which is still crazy to think about, especially when people recognize me in real life.”

Over the past year, she has focused more on corporate outfit videos and has partnered with popular clothing brands, including Aritzia, Roots, Princess Polly, White Fox, Pretty Little Thing, and others. 

She said she also finds joy in highlighting her favourite products and spots in Toronto to workout and try new foods.

Keeping it real

In the process, Lee has become more confident with sharing her self-growth and insecurities with her followers by speaking more in her videos.

Her new year’s resolution was to not be embarrassed to be herself in her videos.

“At first, I tried to portray a perfectly seeming lifestyle, but this year I have tried to show my personality more and showcase the bad and the good,” she said.

“For example, I’m on my Accutane journey with acne and that is something I wanted to document. It’s important to show that life is not all sunshine. Portraying that message where it’s OK not to be perfect and life just goes on,” she said.

“Now I feel like I help a lot of people and they can relate to me, that makes me really happy,” she said.

Content creator Sarah Lee enjoys a sunny day in a downtown park on June 3, 2024. (Melanie Kalogirou/Toronto Observer)

TikTok: a new go-to for career advice

Lee has not only inspired her followers, but also those in her inner circle.

Lee’s former coworker at the Aritzia Toronto office, Kobe Chiu, 24, said, “She inspired me to start posting on social media, which led me to where I am today.”

Chiu added that he uses the social media platforms TikTok and Instagram daily within the professional workforce, “I used them to seek career change advice, when I made the jump from fashion to health tech.”

According to CNBC‘s business news channel, TikTok has become a popular outlet for young adults seeking career advice and opportunities.

“Much of the career advice on TikTok echoes the tips shared in podcasts, YouTube videos and LinkedIn thought pieces. It’s just the aesthetics and format that are different — and more appealing — to Gen Z,” according to Morgan Smith, reporter at CNBC.

In March 2024, surveyed 1,000 young adults to gain a better understanding of the career-related decisions of Gen Z TikTok users.

The results of this survey showed that 41 per cent of the participants had made a career-related decision based on TikTok advice, 15 per cent received an offer for a job they found on the app, and 80 per cent have used the app to network.

Building confidence through change

Along with transitioning into the professional workforce, Lee also had to navigate the changes brought on by her family recently moving across the country to Vancouver.

“This was difficult for me because I was very dependent on them and this kind of forced me out of my comfort zone and to be a little bit more of a risk taker,” said Lee.

Lee said that soon after her family moved away, her newfound independence led her to her role at RBC and she started approaching her TikTok content more seriously.

“Sarah’s been able to use her independence to become more confident as a content creator,” Lee’s sister, Hannah Lee, said. “And seeing her use the platform to support and provide a positive impact on others in her same position makes me proud.” 

Sarah Lee said that navigating recent change has also taught her the valuable lesson to “say yes to every opportunity that comes your way.” 

As Lee replies to comments and continues to create content, she offers some advice to other young adults starting out in their careers.

“It can be really hard figuring out what you want to do in life. A lot of people are not on track and it seems like they know what they are doing, so don’t think you are alone when you don’t know what to do. ”

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Posted: Jun 17 2024 12:30 pm
Filed under: Business Features Profiles