Social media: a revolution in networking and finding internships

April 19, 2010 at 11:52 am | Posted in career center, Finding internships, networking | 2 Comments
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by Jane Finkle

I last wrote about the value of students tapping into Alums as a rich resource for discovering internship opportunities. In their mad dash to find a good internship, students can strengthen their chances of success by skillfully employing the revolutionary tool of social media. As they become more adept at the myriad uses of social media, students build and expand their professional connections. This cutting edge technology embraces the heart of networking through the fast and dynamic search functions offered by LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.  With social media on their side, students can find professionals and potential employers and increase their chances of finding an internship that supports their career interests and goals. The best news is that this technology is a way to further our mission in providing the highest quality career counseling and job search advice to students.

Most recently I worked with a student who expressed his excitement about an internship opportunity at a software company.  I suggested he check his LinkedIn contact list to see if any of his contacts were acquainted with someone at the company.  It turned out that a professor on his contact list was linked to a Vice President at the software company. Through the normal route of LinkedIn introductions, the Vice President circulated the student’s resume to appropriate divisions and agreed to stay in contact regarding future internship opportunities. Even if this student is unable to obtain an internship at the company this year, he has learned how to approach a senior level professional and gained insight into the company.

Here are just some quick examples of how students can use social media sites to their advantage.

Contacts

By linking to friends, professors and past employers at LinkedIn, a student can search their contact’s lists and greatly increase the possibility of finding people connected to a company, industry or employer that sparks their interest. Students can also use the search tab under People to locate and learn more about employers and recruiters who they met previously through campus programs or other connections.

Research

Through LinkedIn, students can also search for career information via Group and Companies search functions. For example, by searching for an organization under the Company tab, a company profile will pop up with information about services and products including the number of current employees. Using the Group tab, a student can identify professional groups in a chosen field and location.  They can also pose questions about the profession and identify potential opportunities for internships. A student might even create a new group, “California Sports Management Interns” to build a network and increase his or her knowledge of the profession.

Job Postings

Companies and employers with LinkedIn and Facebook accounts often post job openings and internship opportunities on their accounts. This just offers students another online resource for finding internship opportunities.

Social media contains an ocean of possibilities, and my comments here are just the tip of the iceberg. This useful mechanism has the ability to create vital professional connections for students. Whether it’s Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter, social media is revolutionizing career development in many exciting and positive ways. This revolution is also impacting the way career professionals provide career education and support to students who now need guidance on how to use social media responsibly and effectively. We must become experts in the navigation and uses of this powerful tool if we want to continue to serve our students at the highest level.

2 Comments »

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  1. Great blog entry

  2. Way to go! This is a vital lesson for educators and students alike.


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