Recruiters at Internships & Employers Share Tactics for Getting an Interview

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This post is an excerpt from our Digital Citizenship Conference in Los Angeles. The conference was a rich environment for educators, law enforcement officers and parents to openly discuss issues and solutions for helping students shine in the digital world. All of the content from the Digital Citizenship Conference is available as a Virtual Replay Ticket.

 Parents: Learn about our new Parent/Student Social Media Bootcamp event 

Here are the experts who contributed to this blog:

Amber Chitty

Amber Chitty
Coordinator
CA State University

Karyn Koven

Dr. Karyn Koven
Director
HighTech Los Angeles

Jeanna Trammell

Jeanna Trammell
Internship Coordinator
CA State University

Heidi Swanson

Heidi Swanson
Internship Coordinator
Chapman University

Ingrid Greene

Ingrid Greene
Program Coordinator
Pepperdine University

Recruiters at Internships & Employers Share Tactics for Getting an Interview

Experts share tactics on how to leverage videos to personalize your applications, how to monitor your social media, and how to find your niche

Here are some key takeaways from the Recruiters at Internships and First Employers panel:

  • An online presence is a necessity
  • Students who are applying for jobs almost always start by submitting an application online so having a positive online presence is necessary. Create a LinkedIn account with a headshot and list hobbies, awards and sports accomplishments in your account description. Monitor your social media to ensure it reflects positively on your applications, even if your accounts are private.

  • Find your niche and specialize in it
  • Finding the right job starts with really honing in on your passions and finding your niche. Use your background, your skills, your experience, and your major to find out what you want to do.

  • Schedule informational meetings and practice for them
  • The best way for students to prepare for job interviews is to have them schedule informational meetings with executives at the companies they’re interested in. Consider asking a teacher or parent for help holding mock interviews, to get comfortable before your meetings.

What are some best practices for students interested in internships and impressing first employers?

Work with students to help them with their communication skills. –Jeanna Trammell

Students have a lot of information today. However, when it comes to learning about the skills that they need to get whatever position it is that they are interested in, the best approach is to have a face-to-face meeting with executives of the company. Students need to set up an informational meeting with these people. Work with students to help them with their communication skills and to prep them for their interview. Remind them that the more practice that they get, the better they become. Then the real job interviews become a breeze. –Jeanna Trammell, California State University, Dominguez Hills

Having a professional online presence a necessity for students. –Heidi Swanson

In this day and age, there are rarely opportunities for students to meet with top executives unless they can score a personal interview. Today, students that are applying for jobs, almost always have to apply online and it makes having a professional online presence a necessity. You want to create a LinkedIn profile. Even a high school student can add their interests, causes they care about and input their volunteer experience on their profile. Students also need to monitor their social media accounts because even private accounts are not truly private. There are third party applications that can look through private accounts. You want your social media accounts to reflect positively on your application. –Heidi Swanson, Chapman University

What are some new tools in recruiting available today?

There are dozens and dozens of different software that employers are now using to sift through applications and resumes. It used to be more common with larger corporations, but now it is more prevalent throughout all job sectors. Another thing that I would ask students to do is to make sure that they apply right away. I had a friend who is a recruiter at a major studio and she called me on a Friday to let me know that she was getting ready to post a position so that I could share it with my students and encourage them to apply. They received over 700 applications over the weekend and they pulled the job on Monday because they had one person available to review all 700 applications. So it is imperative that students apply early to make sure that they get considered by the hiring manager. –Amber Chitty, California State University, Fullerton

GradLeaders is a tool that we use on our campus and there are other campuses that use this tool as well. It’s a tool for students to be able to find employers, internships and part-time jobs. They can also post their resume and it will be reviewed by myself or by someone from our college career center. These types of centralized portals are being utilized more often now by universities to help find work and also approve positions for college credit. –Jeanna Trammell, California State University, Dominguez Hills

At Pepperdine, we use a similar program called Handshake and I would recommend for students to really get to know that program. It’s so important to understand how these programs work as a student so you can use its full potential. –Ingrid Greene, Pepperdine University

What about video components?

A lot of times if a student can personalize themselves through a video, they have a much higher chance of landing the position. I recommend that students work with a coach to learn more about selling themselves on camera and practicing their presence online via a Skype informational meeting with an executive as well. –Heidi Swanson, Chapman University

 Parents: Learn about our new Parent/Student Social Media Bootcamp event 

What is your best advice to help students get ahead of the game in the next 2-3 years?

Use internships as an opportunity to see what people are doing and see if you can picture yourself in that type of work environment. –Dr. Karyn Koven

For students who are starting internships, I would say to just be there, show up, and learn. I think that kids come in sometimes thinking that they are going to run the company on these internships. They need to recognize that these people have been doing this for a long time and they need you to sort the mail, answer the phones, and take out the trash because they can’t. You won’t necessarily be doing high-level stuff in terms of actions or activity, but you still need to put your best effort into it. You can also use internships as an opportunity to see what people are doing and see if you can picture yourself in that position and that type of work environment. –Dr. Karyn Koven, HighTech Los Angeles

Students should find what they are passionate about and what they like doing and specialize. –Amber Chitty

The advice that I would give students today is very different from the advice that my parents gave me as I was going through high school. They told me, “You want to have a broad base of knowledge, keep your options open.” Now the opposite is true. I think students should find what they are passionate about and what they like doing and specialize. There is nothing worse than going to a job that you don’t like. Students now, while they are young and have the opportunity to explore their passions, that is what they need to do. For example, if you absolutely love animals, look for a position at an animal shelter or a veterinary office. Use your background, your skills, your experience, and your major to find out what you want to do. –Amber Chitty, California State University, Fullerton

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