Interview with Hannah Gowans: How She Leveraged Twitter in Her Internship Hunt

Some view Twitter as a disease. Many see it as a self-righteous and narcissistic method of communicating one’s daily activities. Hannah Gowans sees Twitter as an opportunity. Hannah, a senior Psychology major at Syracuse University, has leveraged Twitter to connect with music industry professionals, learn more about the music and marketing industries and obtain a summer internship in her desired field. Here’s her story:

When did you first leverage Twitter to gain experience in your field?

I was home in Houston for spring break this year and wanted to go to South by Southwest, an annual music, film and interactive conference/festival in Austin, Texas. I planned to go up on the Friday of spring break. I follow a music blog called The Hype Machine, which has everything from new music, mash-ups and remixes by taking posts from a large selection of popular music blogs. That week The Hype Machine tweeted, “In Austin? Have a few hours to volunteer at our party for VIP badges + free drinks? email [Taylor] with availability thurs-sat”  So I emailed him. I figured this was a good way to get my foot in the door. I was in Austin that Friday and he called me while I was on 6th street. I ended up working the front door that day for a few hours and during that time I met the creator of The Hype Machine.

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How did you use this experience to obtain your summer internship?

When I was interviewing for summer internships, I added my experience at SXSW to my resume under internship experience. I went to my interview with FanBridge and Noah, who was interviewing me for the position, had done some extensive research on me. He checked my references and ended up knowing Taylor McKnight, who he spoke with prior to my interview. I ended up getting the internship within four hours of the interview.

Do you use Twitter exclusively for networking, or more for socializing, job hunting or catching up on the latest news?

It’s so great for networking. I would have never known about Monster Careers if I wasn’t on Twitter—they tweet all the time about job openings, five ways to brand yourself on social networks, five things not to do in the job interview, among other things. Every company has a Twitter account, some companies have multiple Twitter accounts—this is why this tool is so useful. The friend suggestion tool has been up a week and I’m already following 20 more friends and companies that I didn’t know prior. Wale tweeted the other day that he was giving away his new EP for free and I was able to download around 20 free songs from this offer. In sum, I use Twitter more as a professional and educational platform to learn about how I can better myself in the professional world and learn more about marketing and social media marketing.

What’s your response when you hear people say, “Twitter is useless. I don’t care what you ate for breakfast or what your plans are for today.”

I say give Twitter a chance. If you don’t want people knowing what you ate for breakfast, don’t tweet about it. I know people who use Twitter just to follow people, companies like CNN, their favorite bands, and media companies. You can learn so much because people put information out there. If I hadn’t been on Twitter, this internship with FanBridge might never have happened.

Jim Armstrong is a recent graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.  He now works for New York City-based advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather as an assistant search planner.