I came across this post online ‘Competing for Summer Internships, Using a Twitter Contest’ it was posted in the NY Times in late march and explains how Campbell Mithun an American Advertising Agency used Twitter to find their summer interns and then once they had their top 32 they interviewed them on skype.
I thought it was a great concept – they asked them to use hashtag #L13 and named it ‘Lucky 13’. They had 13 days to give 13 reasons why they should be chosen and contestants got really creative, doing videos, audio, interactive posts etc. A fantastic idea for an increasingly digital company to find talent that already uses and understands the digital world.
Although it may not work for all companies it is definitely showing the potential having a great personal brand online has in getting you the job or internship you want. One of my favourite quotes from the article is “For the first time, everything was out in the open; they knew who their competition was,” Ms. Fischer said, which led to the applicants “stepping up their game.” And it’s so true. The article also mentioned they had double the applications from the year before and the quality was great. No longer are you trying to glorify your years stint that you did packing shelves in the supermarket or trying to beef up a resume when you haven’t had your first break yet.
Here in Australia, I think this approach works particularly well, as universities in Australia don’t tend to be ‘ranked’ and everywhere I read companies seem to be becoming less caught up on where you studied and the grades you got and more interested in what you have done and how passionate you are. Having an online personal brand allows you to show that. So instead of sending a CV in you can link to your website/blog and social networking sites instead.
I think the other thing to take away from this is also that it is never too early to start. Get used to using social networks professionally now, start a blog – make the commitment to be building your ‘online resume’ now so that when the right opportunity comes around, it doesn’t look like you just started to get the job. This is especially important for people that want to work in Marketing, Advertising, Media etc where a growing portion of the industry is now focussing their efforts online and seeing digital as the way forward – even if you are looking for a entry level position you will need to show you understand the basic of the digital world.
Even for those not in these industries it is important though. Next week I am working in Brisbane at a media140 event focussing on Science Communication. It’s focus will be on how Scientists and Science communicators can use social technologies to communicate accurately to a wide audience. So think it’s important for everyone to learn how to communicate effectively online in the digital world and social networks are a great place to start.