At the end of June, Anna Seacat finished her master’s degree in marketing and with “laser focus” tried to get a job at IBM, she told Business Insider.
Seacat chose IBM because she feels that it “empowers” its female employees, it doesn’t force workers to commute to an office, has room for advancement, and it eats its own dog food, using data to help make business decisions, she said.
She knew her best shot at a full-time job straight from school was by doing an internship.
One problem: At age 34, Seacat wasn’t the classic intern, a lot older than the college kids interns she was competing with.
She thought she might even be IBM’s oldest intern.
Another problem: “IBM has a thick HR wall,” she told us. “I have been applying for jobs with the company, but have not had any successes by going through its HR portal.”
Having just finished a degree that specialised in social media marketing, she decided to try some of that social media magic to help sell herself to IBM.
IBM sells a lot of social media analysis products and it uses them internally itself. It is definitely watching Twitter, LinkedIn, news media, and other sources for people talking about the company.
So she posted an essay on LinkedIn called “IBM’s Oldest Intern” in which she explained her reasons for badly wanting a job at the company, and asked everyone to email it, retweet it, and generally help her get an introduction to IBM HR.
The post was viewed by over 600 people, retweeted, and emailed around.
“A friend of IBM’s CEO emailed me and shared my story on his LinkedIn network. At one point, my story was trending on Twitter in Indiana,” she said.
Low and behold, two days later, an HR person from IBM actually called her. “He was very kind and acted genuinely interested in my background,” she said. “He said he would be doing some work on his end to get a phone interview set up.”
Unfortunately, that was nearly two weeks ago and she’s still waiting for that phone interview, or for any follow-up from the company.
IBM isn’t known to move at lightening speed when it comes to this sort of stuff. The company is going through a major transition with its workforce, shedding jobs, selling business units, retraining workers, and carefully hiring only in the hottest new IT areas.
But in a world where it can be hard for an older college grad to get noticed, Seacat definitely found a way.