The unlocked potential of social media for networking and career exploration has been widely written about on StudentBranding.com (for examples, see here and here). Melissa Kong, similarly, wrote a great article this week about learning to exercise moderation as you learn to take advantage of the full benefits of social media. Her article, however, got me thinking of ways that Facebook- sometimes referred to as the largest outlet for procrastination- can be used in productive ways.
LinkedIn is traditionally the outlet that we are accustomed to using for finding professionals working for companies of interest, but because Facebook still retains a higher level of popularity and reach, it is worth considering how its power can be harnessed for locating opportunities.
In addition to being a prime source for which you can develop and maintain your brand, it can also prove to be an invaluable source of information about internships and advice from college peers, most of whom you have never met.
Here are a few ways you can use Facebook for finding internships:
Intern Facebook Groups.
Most companies or organizations that have larger internship programs usually have Facebook groups started by the internship coordinator or an intern that are accessible to the public and easily found through a regular Facebook search.
Seeing what is posted on the wall of the group will give you extra information and a candid perspective on what an internship experience is like at a particular company. Most importantly, it will give you access to past and current interns of that organization that you can easily contact by messaging them and asking for advice.
Be sure to search for specific terms- for example, if you are interested in banking, it might help to search for “Morgan Stanley Summer Interns” or “Morgan Stanley Intern.” More general search terms- such as “State Department”- also render relevant intern Facebook groups. Even if you do not get a group result, you will be directed to profiles that are either in the network or list the key words under their previous job descriptions so you can contact them with relevant questions.
Company Facebook Groups and Fan Pages.
Another great way to get relevant information about openings and internship applications is by becoming a member of a company’s Facebook group, or a fan of their page. Due to the prevalence and significance of social media, many companies and organizations are pushing for ways to reach more people- allowing you to tap into their announcements, newsletters, and internship descriptions just by visiting their Facebook page or checking your Facebook inbox.
A great example of an organization that does this well- and often- is the Truman National Security Project, which informs members of the group of upcoming events and internship opportunities.
Be aware that this should be just one of many ways that you gather information about your company or organization of interest. Depending on the staff, some might have very active facebook participation, while others may not. You should still consult the website, subscribe to relevant newsletters and add a RSS feed to your reader to keep up with more updated information.
Career Services Groups and Fan Pages.
For more general resources, it might be useful to look for fan pages for various career services departments and companies. Most have Twitter feeds (for examples, see: UPenn and MIT)–but a majority of them post listings for internal and external internships and job opportunities frequently.
Note that some of this content will be specific to students who go to the schools–but there is generally a lot of useful information available and applicable to anyone. Here are some examples: Stanford, UPenn, University of Washington.
What are your suggestions?