Over 68% of students use social media in internship search
While social media leads some to procrastinate and spend copious amounts of time scrolling through Facebook friends’ prom pictures, these sites could prove key in clinching an ideal summer internship.
LookSharp — a company dedicated to connecting students with employment opportunities — recently released their 2015 State of College Hiring. The data took information from more than 50,000 students with LookSharp accounts to examine trends in internship and starting careers.
One noteworthy discovery: 68.6% of students used social media to find an internship.
Nathan Parcells, the 28 year-old co-founder and vice president of marketing at LookSharp, says that the company was inspired to compile the data after they noticed a discontinuity between how students were searching for internships and how companies were recruiting students.
Parcells says that he would hear employers mention that social media could be a recruiting tool, but companies tended to avoid these options because traditional methods, like career fairs, have proven useful.
Meanwhile, Parcells says that students have told him that career fairs are annoying and difficult to navigate given the number of employers and businesses.
Students reported using social media in a few ways to find internships — 49.2% of students used it to research employees, 46.2% of students used it to network and 24.5% used it to discuss internship opportunities.
The data also revealed interesting differences in how different demographics used social media.
Women had a higher likelihood of researching employers whereas men were more likely to network and discuss internship opportunities on social media.
Additionally, data shows that students with more internships had a higher likelihood of using each of these methods in finding an internship.
Parcells believes that many students are utilizing social media to learn more about companies.
“When you hear a [company’s] pitch at a career fair or check out their corporate website, oftentimes it’s very dry,” he says. “But the students I talk to and our interns here say when you get on Twitter and follow a company, you really get to hear more of their voice and see more about what [the company’s] really all about.”
One student that utilized this social media to learn more about employers is Tanya Shi.
Shi, a 19 year-old rising junior at Yale University, utilized social media in finding her internship at Arcadia Power — a business dedicated to providing clean energy to people.
The applied mathematics and environmental engineering double major decided to pursue an internship at Arcadia Power to explore options in the business field. She initially applied to the internship through Looksharp’s website and began utilizing social media to leverage herself after she was contacted by Arcadia Powers for an interview.
Shi says that she used Arcadia’s LinkedIn page to research the person contacting her for an interview. She also researched different employees’ backgrounds and noticed that many people came from different academic and career backgrounds – though many of them had a shared interest in the environment.
“So many people had so many different backgrounds and that was one of the main things that I liked about this particular company,” she says. “But they kind of all fit with what I was interested in, so that was kind of reassuring to me.”
Shi also followed Arcadia Power’s tweets to better understand environmental policy information. This helped give her insight into what was going on in the environmental world.
She believes that gaining this information helped ease the interview process.
“It helped me relax a bit in my interview because I knew what I was going into and I thought it gave me a leg-up because I already knew a lot about the company,” she says. “I could speak a lot about my background and how it related to the company’s background.”
In the future, Parcells believes that employment industry will increasingly use social media in targeting companies.
Particularly, he thinks Instagram will become a popular avenue as employers because it can provide visuals into the company’s world.
“We haven’t seen a ton of employers really start figuring out how to present themselves on Instagram,” he says. “I think Instagram is a really interesting place that students are obviously very ingrained on but employers aren’t quite yet.”
by Michael Schramm