How I Got a Full Time Job With a Tweet
There’s lots of conventional wisdom out there about how to get a job. Dress nicely. Smile widely. Nice, firm handshake.
As I watch my friends and fellow seniors prepare for their post-college careers, it amazes me how many hoops you have to jump through to get a job offer. First, you have to sit still without squirming through an info session as an HR representative explains her company’s dental coverage and career growth opportunities.
Next come the resumes. Trying to squeeze your most important life accomplishments onto a single page can be almost as stressful as realizing that all of those accomplishments actually only take up half a page. Yikes! No one enjoys writing these, but they’re a necessary evil if your employer hasn’t heard of LinkedIn.
Then there are the cover letters. Don’t just copy/paste, they’ll know! If they call you back and setup an interview, congratulations. You have hours and hours (and hours) of interview preperation ahead of you.
The problem with all of this is that it’s incredibly standard. And with incredibly standard advice comes incredibly standard results.
As my first semester final exams came to an end last year, I suddenly realized that I had no plans for the next 8 months. I had already told my school that I wanted to take the next semester off, hoping that it’d be refreshing to take a break from academics for a bit.
I wanted to do a cross-country road trip with a high school friend, but I knew that I needed to get a job to pay for school.
I had spent some time working on campus in Bowdoin’s career planning center, so I knew exactly how the process was supposed to work. I did my research, prepared a resume and then drafted a few cover letters to send out.
A week later, I had no leads. It was the holiday season – I told myself – so no one is checking their email. Give it a few more days.
As I sat on my laptop waiting to hear back, I started digging deeper into the companies I had applied to. I really liked HubSpot the most. They had a cool brand and a great blog that I’d been following for a few months already. They had recently been voted “The Best Place To Work in Boston” and they seemed to be generating a lot of great buzz. Surely it’d be a great place to work – I just had to stand out over the hundreds of other applicants I was competing with.
Up to this point, I had followed the standard advice and had gotten the standard treatment. I had been tucked into a stack of other applications and left crossing my fingers, hoping to hear back.
After a week of waiting, I was starting to think that they weren’t interested and I should move on. But I realize at this point I had nothing to lose by trying something a little unordinary.
So I tweeted a 140 character cover letter at the VP of Marketing:
I spent approximately 20 minutes drafting the Tweet, and then sent it as a text from my phone – you know – to make it seem like my job hunt was a casual affair.
To my surprise, he responded quickly and we lined up a series of phone calls for later that week. I got to talk to some great people and actually enjoyed the conversations. I hadn’t really prepared anything, but the process was fairly casual and candid.
By the end of the week, I found out I had gotten the internship! Everything fell into place because of that Tweet.
And eight months later, I was able to turn that internship into a job.
Take a Risk
As always, standard advice and standard procedures lead to standard results.
Next time you find yourself trying to stand out in a crowded field, think of creative ways to attract positive attention. You shouldn’t always have to pull stunts, but if you already know that you’re facing slim chances, what have you got to lose?