For many overachieving college students, fitting a résumé on one page is a challenge. But trying to sell all of your qualities for a job in just 13 tweets and in 140 characters per tweet? This was the problem applicants to “The Lucky 13”—a summer internship program run by advertising and marketing agency Campbell Mithun—faced.
More than 300 applicants sent thousands of tweets in an attempt to tweet their way to an internship with Campbell Mithun. Mark Manalaysay, Savannah College of Art and Design junior and recipient of the creative internship, explained each applicant was limited to only 13 tweets, all of which needed to include two hashtags: One was #L13, which identified them as part of the competition and the other determined the area in which the intern wanted to work. On Twitter, a hashtag is a word or phrase that, when prefixed with the hash symbol, becomes a link and a common thread for all tweets with that tag.
“It was essentially 13 open-ended cover letters to try to go and get an interview,” he explained. Very short ones!
After the more than 300 applicants sent out thousands of tweets, the company narrowed it down to just 32 finalists, who were then interviewed either in person or via Skype. Ultimately, there were only six interns selected. Vince Koci, University of Minnesota senior and creative intern for Campbell Mithun, is one of the lucky six and considered the whole experience to be “pretty surreal.”
“I was beside myself, naturally,” he said. “But the fact that we weren’t supposed to let the news slip for another two weeks is really what made it dream-like. Certain sleep-deprived evenings sometimes had me wondering if the whole thing was actually happening.”
Debbie Fischer, human resources manager at Campbell Mithun, explained that the competition not only allowed the applicants to explore their creative side but also was a way to keep up with modern times.
“We had a far greater reach,” she said. “And it gave us the opportunity to see the individual’s creativity.”
“By far, this was the most fun I had applying for anything,” Koci said. “And that includes a Power Ranger fan club application when I was 7 with a color-by-numbers Red Ranger on it.”
Twitter Tips From the Winning Interns
1. Be yourself
“Not to be clichéd, but be yourself,” Koci said. “Gimmicks generally seemed to fall flat, as least amongst the other competitors.”
You wouldn’t lie on a résumé, so be honest to yourself when you’re tweeting as well. Besides, with the challenge of a 140-character limit, it’s much easier to just be yourself and embrace it than to try too hard.
Vince showed his personality with jokes, like in this tweet of his: “People tell me I have a dry sense of humor. I tell them, ‘Yes I do.’ #CMcr8 #L13”
2. Show personality
“I went with the philosophy that if a tweet made me laugh, then it was good to go,” Koci said. “The theory being that that would be the only way to portray my personality via Twitter.”
Show your potential bosses and your competitors what makes you stand out. Résumés and websites may all start to blend, but Twitter is an excellent way to show how you separate yourself from the crowd.
Vince was able to have fun with the other potential interns as well with tweets like, “[I] started seeing #L13 one day before Valentine’s. Awkward. Do I get it something? #CMcr8”
3. Establish your presence!
“Try to find your voice,” Manalaysay said. “It made me stand out from all the other [applicants].”
Twitter is a perfect opportunity to showcase yourself without taking anything too seriously. Make sure you are distinguishable among your peers without just trying to advertise yourself as a business.
For example, Manalaysay was able to show himself and tweeted, “Why major in advertising? Christina Hendricks… and I love coming up with ideas and solving problems. Mostly Christina though. #L13 #CMcr8”
4. Use your characters wisely
“Also, my personal biggest Twitter pet peeve is posting a gibberish paragraph full of consonants and abbreviations because what you have to say is too long to be told in English in 140 characters,” Koci said. “Find a shorter way to say it or say something else. Twitter isn’t the best medium for everything, so keep it concise.”
Part of the challenge of Twitter is trying to limit yourself to only 140-character statements at a time, but instead of trying to work around it with poor grammar and even worse spelling, embrace the challenge and practice concision!
5. Use Twitter to establish connections that you’ve made
“In advertising we have recruiters, so if you know one go and follow them and give them a mention,” Manalaysay said. “It’s that medium between adding them on Facebook and finding them on LinkedIn, in the sense that you don’t seem like much of a creep, but you’re still a little bit personal with them.”
Like he said, Twitter is the perfect combination of personal life and professionalism; use this relationship to your advantage to establish a conversation with someone who works at a company at which you’d be interested in interning.
6. Keep up-to-date on internships with Twitter
“I went and found every single organization I wanted to work for and followed them on Twitter,” Manalaysay said. “For example some places not only have an official Twitter for the company, but also one just for the internship. There they post deadlines and keep you up to date.”
Keeping in touch with companies you’re interested will also work to your advantage when you go to apply and prove that you’re already familiar with the organization.
So collegiettes, what are you waiting for? Your dream internship may only be 140 characters away!
Vince Koci, @vincekoci
Mark Manalaysay @mmanal
Debbie Fischer, Human Resources Manager, Campbell Mithun