Congratulations on making it to this round of the application process. You join an elite group of individuals passionate about making an impact in Detroit. With so much talent at this phase of the application, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “What can I do to stand out?”

Here’s your chance to ROCK THE VOTE… Challenge Detroit Style! We came up with our top 5 tips to take your application to the next level in hopes of ultimately securing as many votes as possible:

1)     Be Strategic

It’s time to get serious. Sit down and create a plan of attack! Start by outlining every medium you can think of to get the word out about your application. Who will you ask? When will you ask them? Did you make sure they voted? Have they shared your application link?

2)     Leverage Social

Social media is revolutionizing the way we communicate and share information, and Challenge Detroit is committed to engaging with the community with this technology. It’s time you take advantage of it for just that! Share your application link on your Facebook timeline regularly. Take advantage of the private chat feature to reach out to your friends. It’s a great opportunity to re-connect with old friends, too. Use Followerwonk to learn when your Twitter followers are online and tailor your tweets accordingly. Don’t forget about LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google Plus!

3)     Tap Your Network

While your friends and family will be the center of your campaign efforts, don’t forget about the enormous network you’ve built over the course of your life. Remember to reach out to neighbors, professors, classmates, professional affiliation or student club members, and extended family to ensure maximum reach. This support system will be happy to help!

4)     Be Innovative

Get creative! Whether it’s writing a blog or creating your own graphics to promote your application and secure more votes, it’s up to you to innovate! Maybe you’ll have a unique hashtag and build a following around your campaign. Perhaps you’ll publish press releases or author unique content. How about creating a street team?

5)     Tell People What It Means To You

Perhaps the most important tip we can offer is to be genuine and tell people what it means to you if you are accepted as a Challenge Detroit Fellow. Show people why you’re passionate and why it’s important to you. Authenticity is your key differentiator!

If you’re just now starting to ask friends and family to vote, don’t worry… It’s not too late to be competitive. If you’re over five hundred votes already, awesome… keep it up!

Remember, this phase of the application is not a popularity contest. It is an opportunity to connect applicants friends and family to the revitalization efforts taking place in Detroit. Our host companies are also reviewing your applications and Finalist selections are based on a holistic review of all application materials and the Community Vote.

Good Luck! #VoteDetroit

This blog was written by Alumni Fellow, Fares Kesbati in 2014 and updated for 2017.