“Getting an internship is harder than finding a job.”
I have been told this by many a media professional. It’s unfortunate but, as I’ve found, entirely true, and the irony is that to land a job you need prior experience…which comes from having internships before entering the job market.
While finding a great internship can be difficult, social media has made it a little easier. It doesn’t have to be as elaborate as the effort college senior Graham Allgood put in when he built and deployed a custom SnapChat filter for the New York agency he was hoping to work at. There are simpler ways to use social to supplement the search for a perfect internship.
If you know where to look online, chances are you’ll come across opportunities faster.
First things first: Work your network
With almost half a billion members, it’s no surprise that LinkedIn is a valuable resource for internship seekers. Jobs are posted daily on the site, and since your profile is essentially a human-voiced version of your resume, it makes applying incredibly easy.
Set yourself up for LinkedIn success before you begin applying. From your headline to your summary, optimize your profile. And definitely make sure you fill out your experience section, including your accomplishments.
Then it’s as simple as clicking the jobs tab and adjusting your career interests. Select internships and choose industries. LinkedIn will deliver results on the Jobs tab tailored to your preferences.
Beyond this simple search through job posts, joining groups specific to the field you’re looking to get an internship in can be helpful. Often professionals will post opportunities and having a group in common is a great way to make a connection before applying.
And, if you’re using LinkedIn properly to build your network, you can simply ask for help. 70% of jobs are found through networking. LinkedIn’s a great way to start building your networking muscles. Current students can also make use of LinkedIn Students App, which will hook you up with alumni and different job opportunities.
Twitter and Facebook
It’s not rare anymore to see companies post internships not just through their parent company portal (which can be confusing and difficult to access at times) but directly to their Twitter and Facebook feeds. More than 90% of companies use social in their hiring efforts.
Follow the companies and organizations that fall in line with your career goals on Twitter and get notifications from their Facebook feeds. Follow their active employees on Twitter too because you never know when they will share job postings with their followers.
Fun fact: I found my internship at Mindset Digital this way after their social media content coordinator posted about the opportunity on Facebook.
Many universities have a constantly updating job dashboard (like this one) with internships in all different kinds of fields. It’s a valuable resource because often times the companies whose postings appear are looking for students from that university.
Visit often to check for newly posted internships and make sure to keep an updated resume and cover letter on file to make applying easier.
Let’s get specific
One thing I’ve learned from attending school at Ohio State (Go Bucks) is that school affiliation will go a long way. Alumni will often go out of their way to help someone who wears the same school colors as they did so don’t be afraid to reach out.
There are tightknit alumni groups on Facebook and LinkedIn to join and alumni meetings that happen on campuses and in big cities more often than you think. You can find a lot of this by following the social media trail your school leaves behind. Start at their alumni website and find their social media accounts and groups.
It never hurts to introduce yourself and make connections in these spaces.
Post on your own social accounts
And if all else fails, posting on your own social media that you’re looking for an internship has more benefits than you may think. There are undoubtedly students in your exact same position looking for an internship who may have found something you overlooked and are willing to clue you in.
There are also people in your circle that you didn’t even realize could help with the search who could have connections that could help you get your foot in the door.
Let the search begin…almost
If you plan on using your social media channels to get an internship, now is a good time to review your social presence.
Make sure that your social media accounts represent you as you want to appear to prospective employers. If you’re applying through LinkedIn, make sure your profile is up to date. If you’re on Facebook or Twitter, go through your recent posts and ensure you’re comfortable with recruiters looking through them.
A word of advice: it’s better to go the extra mile. Make sure you’re distributing content in some way, whether it be promoting your own work or sharing content interesting to you. Invest in your personal branding.
If you’re going to hunt for an internship through social media, you have to be active on those platforms for future employers to take you seriously.