By now most ambitious Millennials who intend to pursue careers related to software, as tech staff and/or as entrepreneurs, understand the importance of posting their interests and accomplishments on LinkedIn and their code on GitHub. For the immediately foreseeable future, that's where most of the people who will hire you or invest in your start-ups will be looking.
Some of you have also recognized that hackathons are not just good fun; they are also good arenas for you to be seen in action. Unfortunately, the way most hackathons are run, the only prospective employers or investors who will become aware of your participation will be the few who attend the hackathons in person. But you can use social media to change this.
To be sure, the organizers of the hackathons will produce enough tweets with attached photos to document their successful production of these events, but their tweets and photos will probably give scant mention of your participation. So this note offers a few specific suggestions that stem from a fundamental insight:
- Hackathons are multi-player mind games. The action is inside the players' skulls. So nobody's going to know what you're doing unless you tell them.
- Just before the hackathon begins -- Tweet the fact that you're participating and express your ambitions/excitement about being there.
- When the hackathon starts -- Tweet your own announcement that the hackathon is starting, and attach a photo (not a selfie) to show what things look like from where you're sitting.
- When your team is selected -- Tweet a couple of photos of your team (not a selfie), together with a note as to who/where you are, e.g., "me in center" "me on far left", etc. Encourage other teams to tweet photos of themselves ... show that this is a real competition with real players on the teams.
- When your team makes its first presentation -- Tweet an announcement, then broadcast video streams of your team's clear presentation of what it's going to build ... Encourage other teams to send out and record video streams of their presentations.
- Late at night/early in the morning -- Tweet a couple of photos of your team working long hours on your winning app. And again, encourage other teams to tweet about their own extensive efforts. Include brief descriptions of the specific features you're working on at the time to keep it real.
- When your team makes its final presentation -- More video steams and recordings.
- When the winner is announced -- Tweet your congratulations to the winning team ... and if you win, tweet a fun photo of your team with smiles all around ... include big thanks to the hackthon's organizers and sponsors.
Related notes on this blog: