Student Voices: Using Micro-Internships for Recruiting

While we often discuss the clear benefits and value of Micro-Internships for employers and managers, we recently had a chance to sit down with three Career Launchers (one college student and two recent graduates) to hear how Micro-Internships impacted their recruiting experience.

Access a recording of the conversation here, or read on for our summary complete with five easy ways to introduce Micro-Internships at your organization.

Our panel consisted of:

  • Adila Gathers, a recent MBA recipient now working full-time in a role she found via her Micro-Internship through The Winning Edge’s Gigs for Game Changers program.
  • Legend Fears, a college senior currently completing his second-to-last semester remotely from home due to the pandemic.
  • Yaxin Li, a recent graduate with a full-time offer at Deloitte starting next fall, who was able to complete a Micro-Internship through our partnership with WAVE.

Each Career Launcher has faced different challenges during the recruitment process, despite having the grit, perseverance, and determination that so many managers are eager to have on their team. When it comes to the job search process itself, many students and recent graduates are concerned about finding the right fit. Will they know it when they see it? Is a big organization a better fit for me than a start-up? What happens if I accept an offer and realize it’s not right for me? This in particular happens more often than employers would like, with more than 55% of college graduates leaving their first professional role within one year of starting. 

Legend, still in his career search process, spoke on the importance of having more opportunities to explore careers. 

“I always joke that everyone in my major wants to do DC or Wall Street. I want to do the Bay or Austin. I’m very interested in sales but I don’t have as much experience with that yet. Working on Micro-Internships meant there were less barriers: I could jump right into a project and I got to know what their expectations were sooner instead of being filtered out by my GPA.” - Legend Fears

For Adila, already in her role, she feels that Micro-Internships were a great way to not only get experience for students with limited time, but also to build a connection with employers that value your skills. 

“I had an MBA and thought I’d be able to knock down any door, but employers looked at my resume and didn’t see any relevant experience. Even though I was an athlete and was coachable, a team player, adaptable, I didn’t have a stack of internships from my undergrad listed on my resume.” - Adila Gathers

Yaxin, who is currently interning and will start her full-time role in the fall, noted that though she attended a lot of career fairs and info sessions, those processes alone didn’t provide her with a good understanding of the companies.

It wasn’t until I got to actually work with those companies that I actually felt like I knew what I could expect. For me, the companies I felt more connected to were those that I was more involved with early on.” - Yaxin Li

The Career Launchers also touched on tactics that didn’t engage them, with one common theme:

Yaxin: “When recruiters reach out through email on Handshake, I see it a lot,  I generally don’t respond to those or interact with those because it’s not super personal. I’d only reply if it’s a company I knew about and was already applying to.”

Legend: “I still receive a lot of those Handshake emails myself but they aren’t really as personalized as I would like. When I receive them I just wonder, ‘did you really read my resume or did you just see that I was an Economics major?’ and if I feel like that right now and I haven’t even engaged with you, if I do work with you I’m probably not going to have the best time.”

Adila: “I got lucky and found The Winning Edge which is a professional development leadership group for minorities and women in sports.They helped me more than an email and notifications on Handshake.”

Finally, when asked specifically about their Micro-Internship experience, each Career Launcher signed-up for Parker Dewey with different goals, but all have had positive outcomes.

Yaxin: “I already had a full-time offer, but just because I had that offer, my job search and professional development didn’t stop. I was always looking for opportunities and ways to continue developing and applying my skills as well as gaining new skills—I thought that Micro-Internships were a great way to do that. I was happily surprised at truly how integrated I was as part of the team, just from these few short weeks of doing a project part-time. I was able to build genuine relationships with my managers and supervisors and we’ve even talked about continuing my involvement this year. That’s something I definitely didn’t expect from a short internship.”

Adila: “Everyone knows COVID hit, so there was a big pivot within my personal life and my work life and I had to figure out what is going to be the next thing that I do. Going through the interview process and hearing “ok you have an MBA, but you don’t have any experience,” I had to figure out where I will get experience and in a quick way. When I looked at Parker Dewey, I saw there were a lot of different places I could go. I ended up working for a data company within sports—which was good! Even though I was pivoting, Micro-Internships were a perfect transition into either a new role or just to explore and see what you are capable of and that the skills you have are transferable to different types of projects.”

Legend: “The most interesting thing about Micro-Internships was the opportunity to gain direction in what I wanted to do. I did data clean-up for a cloud services company and calling existing leads for them. It actually gave me a glimpse into what I was going to do for my first job as a BDR or SDR. I really started to get into the job and getting passionate about it even though it was only two weeks long.

For organizations that are seeking new ways to engage college students like Yaxin, Adila, and Legend, read on for Five Easy Ways to Introduce Micro-Internships at Your Company!

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